Approximately two to three weeks after surgery, patients return to be fitted with the external “sound processing” portion of their new device.
At this appointment, the Audiologist will activate the cochlear implant and begin the process of “mapping” the processor for the individual’s specific needs. Mapping is how the Audiologist sets the electrode stimulation to give the patient the best hearing results.
The initial programming typically takes several hours.
When the cochlear implant is “turned on,” this is often the very first time that many children and adults are experiencing sound. It is an emotional and memorable milestone for the patient or parent. The journey is only beginning, however.
Re/gaining the ability to hear with a cochlear implant requires an investment in time, effort, and ancillary disciplines, including speech pathology.
In the subsequent months, patients will schedule follow up appointments for fine-tuning and adjustments to the cochlear implant map, and for additional counsel on how to become accustomed to his or her device. For those who have never heard sound before, an auditory training program is recommended to help the brain learn how to process the new auditory stimulation.
With training and experience, the patient’s hearing and perception of speech almost always improves over time.