What happens after surgery?

Two weeks following surgery, the child will return to The Center for Hearing and Speech for the initial stimulation and orientation of all of the external equipment. The initial stimulation appointment, also called the initial “hook-up” or “activation,” involves fitting the child with the external equipment (speech processor, transmitting cable/coil) and programming or “mapping” of the device. The delay between surgery and the initial stimulation is necessary to allow the incision to heal and any swelling to subside. The initial stimulation is the first time that the child will hear with their new cochlear implant.

While most children do not understand speech through the implant at first, the initial stimulation marks the beginning of an exciting time for the child and opens a door to the whole new world of sounds. WE encourage family member to attend this incredible appointment!


How often do children need to return for follow-up services?

Sounds that are heard are adjusted in a process called mapping. The audiologist uses a computer to set levels for each of the implant's stimulating contacts.

The objective of cochlear implant mapping is to optimize the perception of sounds. As new implant recipients learn and gain experience hearing with their device, the audiologist reprograms and fine tunes the implant as needed.

In order to map the implant successfully and optimize hearing, you and your child will return to The Center for two, consecutive, half-day initial stimulation appointments.  Follow-up mapping appointments will then be scheduled for two-weeks and one month after the initial activation.  Depending on how your child is adjusting to his or her new equipment at this point, mapping and testing will typically be reassessed at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 2 years post-initial stimulation. 

It is not uncommon to need interim mapping sessions between these appointments for young children, for troubleshooting, or for more detailed assessment of a problem area.  After two years of successful cochlear implant use, children will often be able to transition into annual cochlear implant checks.