National Hearing Implant & Viani Research Centre

For Patients

Who is suitable for a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant can partially restore hearing in adults and children with hearing loss and improve their communication and quality of life. To be considered for a cochlear implant the following criteria are required:

  • Severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears
  • Limited or no benefit from consistent use of well fitted hearing aids
  • Medically suitable for surgery
  • Motivated for the rehabilitation process
  • Realistic expectations of the CI

What to expect after a referral?

Initial Appointment

Once we receive your referral you will be offered an initial appointment.


Following your initial visit you will undergo rigurous audiological, speech and language and medical assessement to establish suitability for implantation. Radiological imaging might also be requested if necessary.


Prior to surgery you will have an oportunity to attend an information session to discuss pre- and post-implant management with various members of the clinica team. You will also have the opportunity to meet and discuss with other cochlear implant users or families.

Surgery and Switch On

Cochlear implant surgery can take upto 3 hours and it is performed by our specialised surgical team.

Post-op recovery can vary, but most people report feeling well 1-2 days after surgery.

Device Programming & Rehabilitation

2-4 four weeks following surgery you will attend teh NHIVRC to pair the speech processor and to finally switch-on. your cochlear implant This will be your first experience hearing with a cochlear implant.

Cochlear implant users need to attend regular programming and rehabilitation sessions to optimise their speech procesor and to assess progress hearing with the implant.

Hearing with a cochlear implant is a very individual experience and each person will make different progress over time. There are several factors that can affect the development of auditory skills after cochlear implantation:

  • Cause of hearing loss
  • Age when the hearing loss began
  • Age at implantation for children
  • Hearing aid use prior to cochlear implantation
  • Educational setting for children
As each recipient is an individual, the NHIVRC team's aim is to ensure that the expectations of a prospective recipient or their family are realistic and achievable.

For more detailed information about cochlear implantation in NHIVRC please download our brochures:

For further information please download our Paedatric brochure

For further information please download our Ypp brochure

For further information please download our Adult brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

In the beginning, the sound coming from a cochlear implant can be unnatural. You may hear a lot of sounds but be unable to make sense of what you are hearing. However, over time and with the necessary adjustments to the device, most people report that their implants begin to sound ‘normal'.

Most implant users experience improvements in hearing over time; however it is impossible to predict how well each person will do with their implant since this varies greatly from person to person. While some CI users are able to use the phone, others might only have some sound awareness and ease lip-reading. It is important to keep in mind that cochlear implant recipients do not have ‘normal’ hearing, and that hearing will still be challenging some situations (e.g., with background noise).

Full time daily use is a vital for all CI users, especially for children, to facilitate the development of listening skills and spoken language. For adults, initially, as you adjust to the hearing world, you may not wish to use your implant all day but daily and consistent use will help you adapt more rapidly to the new sounds you are hearing.

The internal part of the cochlear implant system is designed to last for many years. The team at the NHIVRC will routinely check the function and integrity of the internal device and if any issue is detected, another surgery to replace the device might be necessary. Surgical replacement of the internal device due to device failure is a very rare event.

Most people who suffer from tinnitus prior to implantation find that their condition improves after implantation, as it is masked by the sounds from the cochlear implant. Some people report a short-term worsening of tinnitus immediately after the surgery which subsides after a few days. However, there are people for whom the tinnitus is intensified following cochlear implantation.

The NHIVRC is a public service and for the majority of services, including the cochlear implant and sound processor, are provided at no cost to the patient. However, there are some charges that CI users will incur over time.

When having surgery, there will be a government levy due for each night in hospital. This levy is waived if someone holds a medical card. Some health insurance policies may also cover this levy.

Long term costs of having a CI include purchase of batteries, and some optional accessories.

Resources for Implanted Patients

The NHIRC works with implants from 4 different companies, and choice is made based on clinical needs. To know more information on each of the companies and their Sound Processors and accessories check the links below:

* Further information available in the brochures