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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Cochlear Implant switch-on and rehabilitation

Two weeks after the implant surgery, the cochlear implant sound processor will be tuned for the first time.

This means the audiologist will make adjustments to the processor settings, to allow the user to start to hear sound (initially some patients may feel the stimulation, rather than hear). The speech processor settings or programmes that are downloaded onto the sound processor are called MAPs.

Everybody (and every ear) is different, and the MAPs need to be set up individually.

The first MAP will be set at a fairly low level, so that you can get used to the new sound. People report a range of experiences when the processor is first switched on. Some people hear beeps or buzzes, some can hear speech (though it is not yet clear) and some people will feel sensation rather than hear.

With children you may not see a response in the first few weeks, because we increase the levels very gradually to ensure that your child stays comfortable and happy to wear the processors as they adjust to the new sound.

On average you will need to come to eight tuning sessions in the first year (with appointemnts more clustered at the beginning). Most tuning appoitnments will be followed (same day) by a session with a Speech and Language Therapist for rehabilitation. They will produce a personalised plan of rehabilitation for you, and may give you some exercises to practice at home.

We will offer as many tunings as necessary to get you hearing optimally.

Everybody is different, and outcomes with Cochlear Implants vary considerably. We will discuss your, or your child's, progress with you throughout.