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Cochlear Implants


A cochlear implant (CI) is an electronic device that helps improve hearing in people with severe hearing loss. A CI has an external and internal part. CI surgery is done to place the internal part of the CI in your ear.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During your surgery:

Your surgeon will make an incision behind your ear along your hairline. He will open the mastoid bone to reach your inner ear. He will go through the opening in the mastoid bone to get to the cochlea. Your surgeon will make a hole in the cochlea and implant the electrodes. Your surgeon will place the receiver against the mastoid bone. Your incision will be closed with stitches.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room where you can rest until you are awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not try to get out of bed until your healthcare provider sees that you are okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room. You will have a bandage behind your ear to keep the wound clean and dry. Your healthcare provider will remove the bandage and check your wound the day after your surgery.


You may feel dizzy or have nausea after your surgery. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. The outer layer of your brain may be injured during surgery, and cerebrospinal fluid may leak. This can cause a severe headache, neck stiffness, and leakage of clear fluid from your nose or ears. Parts of your ear or facial nerves may be damaged during the surgery. This can cause numbness and loss of movement to parts of your face. CI surgery increases the risk of meningitis. This is an infection of your brain and spinal cord. You will be at a higher risk for meningitis your entire life. Your CI may not be in the right place, or it could stop working. You may need another surgery to fix it.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

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

Learn more about Cochlear Implants (Inpatient Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes