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Cochlear Implant Hookup Experience

What Happens at That First Map


Updated May 10, 2009

Not long after the implant surgery, the recipient must get the implant mapped, or programmed so that new user can take in sound without pain and other discomfort. The audiologist will connect the implant to a computer and test the implanted electrodes as part of the initial mapping process, adjusting theelectrode frequencies as needed. An older implantee may be asked to adjust the volume on the processor. The audiologist will be seeking a sound "comfort level" for the implantee. The comfort level is important because at first, for some implantees things may sound "too loud."

The reaction to the first mapping session, also known as the hook up, switching on, or first activation, is different for each implantee although there are some common reactions.

Baby or Toddler

A baby or toddler may cry from the sudden shock of hearing things, or may simply be bewildered by the experience.

Older Child or Adult

An older child's eyes may widen with wonder. The child or adult may express anxiety, be excited, or suffused with happiness and joy. They may actually hear words. Many have described the first sounds as similar to the voice of Donald Duck. The audiologist will explain to the older child or adult how to use the implant.


Parents of young children and older implantees should not expect too much from the first mapping. The brain needs to get used to processing the new sounds. For instance, the implantee should not expect to be able to use a telephone the first day the implant is switched on.


Cochlear Corporation has the informational videos "What to Expect at a Child's Hook-up" and "What to Expect at Adult Hook-up," available from Cochlear upon request.


I was born deaf all my life and I was wonder what is Cochlear Implant so we went to Houston MEMORIAL HERMAN SOUTH and we talk about it and I told them about the BEST one and got the surgery , 1 month and 1/2 , went back to Houston , about the speech protect and when I put it on my head and she is turning on and I listen, my mom said "CAN U HEAR ME " and when I turn my head to my mom and said "YES I HEAR U" for the first time in my life it like hearing wow it just amazing sound in my ear, I love that sound of woman high heel shoes , car noise, I mean everything , I really love to hear the BEST SOUND
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