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Cochlear Implant Surgery in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is cochlear implant surgery?

Cochlear implant surgery is used to place a cochlear implant in one or both of your child's ears. A cochlear implant is an electronic device that helps improve hearing in people who have severe hearing loss. A cochlear implant will not restore normal hearing, but it may help your child better understand speech and lip movements.

Ear Anatomy

What are the parts of a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant has 2 parts:

What happens before cochlear implant surgery?

How do I prepare my child for cochlear implant surgery?

What happens during cochlear implant surgery?

What should my child and I expect after cochlear implant surgery?

Your child may be dizzy for a day or two after surgery. He or she will not be able to hear right away. The incision should heal in 3 to 6 weeks. After the incision heals and the swelling is gone, your child will receive the external part of the cochlear implant. Your child will go to therapy to learn how to listen and understand sounds using the cochlear implant. You and your child will also learn how to care for the cochlear implant.

What are the risks of cochlear implant surgery?

Parts of your child's ear or facial nerves may be damaged during the surgery. This can cause numbness and loss of movement to parts of his or her face. Cochlear implant surgery increases the risk of meningitis. This is an infection of the brain and spinal cord. Your child will be at a higher risk for meningitis his or her entire life. Your child's cochlear implant may not be in the right place, or it could stop working. He or she may need another surgery to fix it.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.