Getting Your Child's Cochlear Implant

Cochlear Implantation will be scheduled once your hearing healthcare professional has determined that your child is a candidate for a cochlear implant and your financing has been secured. Soon, watching your child play an instrument, whisper secrets in a best friend’s ear, or excel in class alongside normal-hearing peers may be your family’s everday reality.



The idea of implantation may evoke a range of feelings, including excitement, hope, or apprehension. Rest assured, cochlear implantations are relatively simple, minimally invasive, and performed thousands of times per year across the world. In fact, children usually go home the same or very next day and resume their regular activities within a couple of days.

A Straightforward Solution to Better Hearing

Cochlear implantations are routinely straightforward, typically taking two to four hours. Your child will spend additional time in the preparation and recovery areas because the procedure is done under general anesthesia.

How Addison Hears Her World

“Her cochlear implants allow her to participate in many different Student Council activities that involves being in social settings. She feels part of a group and not like an outsider. Most importantly her friends and peers see her as Addison, the funny, kind hearted, smart young lady that she is and not the “girl with the bionic ears.”

—  Rachelle Blackmon, mother of Addison, implanted at age 19 months, bilaterally implanted at age 7

Preparing for Your Child's Cochlear Implantation

AB understands that cochlear implantation is typically more unnerving for the parent than it is for the child. Even if you are nervous, it’s important for your child to see you calm and confident so that they can feel comfortable and protected. Children like to know what’s going on. That’s why AB gives every pediatric recipient their own Bionic Buddy stuffed monkey to keep them company every step of the way. Read and explain the Bionic Buddy coloring book to your child and consider role-play with Bionic Buddy to give your child a good understanding of the process.

Pre-Cochlear Implantation Checklist

Be sure to check your list before you head to the hospital:

  • Review the information provided by the hospital. If you haven’t received this from the hospital or doctor, be sure to request it.
  • Get all your questions answered in advance.
  • If you’ve been advised that your child will stay the night, be sure to pack for an overnight stay.
  • Take Bionic Buddy to the hospital to comfort your child.
  • If you are working with an insurance carrier, make sure they have approved your surgery in advance.

Pre-Implantation Vaccination


Cochlear implant candidates and recipients should consult their primary care physician and implanting surgeon regarding vaccination status for protection against meningitis. Meningitis is a known risk of inner ear surgery and candidates and recipients should be appropriately aware of this risk.


Because children with cochlear implants are at increased risk for pneumococcal meningitis, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that they receive pneumococcal vaccination on the same schedule recommended for other groups at increased risk for invasive pneumococcal disease. Recommendations for the timing and type of pneumococcal vaccination vary with age and vaccination history, and should be discussed with a health care provider.




American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACIA)
Important Health Alert for Cochlear Implant Recipients (December 2012)