What to Expect Before and After Cochlear Implant Surgery

Our team at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital will be with you and your family throughout the cochlear implant process. Below is a brief overview of what you can expect.

Call us to learn more about cochlear implants:


What to Expect

Before Surgery
  • Your child’s surgeon will work with you to schedule a surgery date.
  • Insurance authorization is coordinated by the otolaryngologist and the hospital.
  • Notify us of any signs of illness or fever that occur within 3 days before surgery by calling 954-265-1616.
  • Your child should have nothing to eat after midnight the day before surgery and only small amounts of clear liquids the day of surgery.
  • Cochlear implant surgery lasts about 3-4 hours. Children usually go home the same day but parents should come prepared to stay overnight if needed.
  • Please bring your child a shirt that zips up or buttons up the front as the bandage may make it difficult to pull a shirt over the head.
  • A nurse will teach you how to care for the stitches and bandages at home. Keep the area clean and dry until your child returns for their post-op appointment.
  • Typically your child will see the otolaryngologist a week after surgery but please call immediately with any concerns: 954-265-1616.
  • Teddy Bear Tour prior to surgery. If you are interested in this please contact the surgical coordinator at 954-265-1616.
After Surgery

After Surgery:

  • The initial stimulation is usually about 2-4 weeks after surgery. In the meantime your child can continue to wear his or her hearing aid in the opposite ear.

First Fit:

  • The initial stimulation is usually a longer visit (approximately 2 hours).
  • The sound processor, microphone, and headpiece are fit.
  • The first map or program will be created so that it is comfortable for your child, this may not provide too much sound stimulation, but there will be progressive maps to try out before the next visit.
  • Programming
    • If old enough your child may report when a sound is heard or play a “listen and drop” game to indicate when a sound is heard.
    • For very young children we will all observe the child’s behavior for any evidence that sound is heard.
    • Responses can range from smiling, to crying, to no response at all.
  • You will be counseled on device use, troubleshooting and equipment care.
  • Product registration and warranty will be completed.
Follow-Up Visits

Follow-Up Schedule:

  • Initial Stimulation (3-4 weeks after surgery)
  • Following initial stimulation:
    • 2 weeks
    • 5 weeks
    • 9 weeks
    • 3 months
    • 6 months
    • 9 months
    • 1 year

After the first year, appointments will be in 6 month intervals (with added appointments if needed)

Realistic Expectations:

Before normally hearing children learn to speak, they have spent over a year listening. Keep in mind that the initial stimulation appointment may be the first time your child is hearing. Speech and language takes time and experience to develop. The best thing you can do is ensure your child is wearing his/her device during all waking hours and expose them to a lot of spoken language. Reading to your child aloud daily is very important. Attending speech language pathology sessions and/or auditory verbal therapy sessions is necessary for your child to learn to listen and develop speech and language.

Cochlear Implant Surgery - What happens after surgery

Cochlear Implant Surgery - What happens after surgery

Call us to learn more about cochlear implants:


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