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Cochlear implants

Boy wearing cochlear implant, showing processor and coil

A cochlear implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing' - Wikipedia.

A cochlear implant is sometimes recommended when there is little to no natural hearing left in the ear. Where a hearing aid amplifies the sound (rather like a microphone) a cochlear implant is a device that is implanted directly into the 'cochlear' of the ear, or the part that turns sound into brainwaves.

A cochlear implant will not work for all types of hearing loss, so if you have questions about your personal situation it is best to talk to your audiologist. If your child is referred for a cochlear implant, you will have a number of appointments and meetings before the surgery. Usually surgery will be an overnight stay in hospital with a follow up appointment a few days later.

You will have ongoing visits with one of the Cochlear Implant programmes (see 'Associated Organisations' in the Resources drop down above) to fit the processor, 'map' the electrodes to provide the right sounds and test the hearing through the CI.

What is a cochlear implant? provides a brief summary of what cochlear implants are and how they work. 

The New Zealand Cochlear Implant Group (NZCIG)

NZCIG is a closed group on Facebook for users and families of those with Cochlear Implants. It is a good forum to discuss questions about cochlear implants and learn more hints and tips from other parents.


The challenges of keeping cochlear implants (and hearing aids) on

Keeping hearing aids or cochlear implants on children, particularly small children and babies can seem like an impossible task. Every parent of a deaf/hard of hearing child could give you story after story of tricks they have tried, and just as many stories of the epic fails of keeping the hardware on their children. Below is a resource that has been created by NZ parents who have overcome (or are in the process of overcoming) these difficulties and who have passed on their knowledge through our Tips for keeping cochlear implants or hearing aids on.

Tips for keeping hearing aids and cochlear implants on (PPT, 790Kb)

Success for Kids

Success for Kids with Hearing Loss is a US website with hints and tips for both parents and teachers, it has a good article on 'Strategies for keeping hearing aids on young children'. 


Hands and Voices

A parent led organisation in the US, and have some wonderful parent written tips for almost every question you may have.

Read an article called 'Equipment and Babies; Not Quite Mission Impossible' on the Hands and voices website.

Cochlear Implant School Toolkit

While this is a set of resources aimed at children with cochlear implants, many of the resources work for children with hearing aids. The kit provides information for parents, for teachers and for schools, along with printable resources and DVD's. 


Pre-School and School

For information to give to your child's classroom teacher,

Acoustics and Socialisation - For Teachers - Things to be aware of within a classroom to ensure that all children have access to conversation within the classroom, and the importance of 'overhearing'. Please note there are other Teacher resources in the Life Stages section of this website.

'The Starting School checklist' on the Auzzie Deaf Kids website, is a list of things to take with you when deciding on the school your child will attend.