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Cochlear Implants

We're Cambridge's leading experts on Cochlear Implants and will guide you through the entire process, from assessment and candidacy to rehabilitation.

Cambridge Cochlear Implants

What is a cochlear implant?

Cochlear implants are made up of two components, :

  • There is the external component, known as the processor for the cochlear implant system which includes a sound processor and headpiece, which is easily removed. To remain discreet, the colour of the processor can match an individual’s hair. The external components capture speech, music and environmental sounds. They are processed then transmitted to the implant.

  • Supporting this is a device implanted surgically. The implant bypasses the normal acoustic hearing pathway, replacing it with electrical signals. These are fed directly to the cochlear, stimulating the auditory nerve. The brain perceives these signals as sound. These internal parts of the system – inserted during surgery and not visible – are called the implant and the electrode array. Individual electrodes pass sound signals to the brain, as outlined above.

Due to NHS funding for adults, cochlear implants will often only be fitted inside one ear. If the patient experiences hearing loss in the other ear also, a hearing aid may still be worn. The implant itself can work with certain hearing aids, to help maintain spatial hearing awareness. Second cochlear implants are available privately, if the non-implanted ear degrades beyond the help of a traditional device.

Newer technology even allows the wearer to stream music and phone calls directly to the hearing aid and cochlear implant.

Who are cochlear implants for?

We’re here to provide exactly the right care and will check your suitability for a cochlear implant via a consultation with one of our expert audiologists.

Our full diagnostic test determines how profound your hearing loss is. We’ll also investigate the root cause of your loss, assessing which section of the ear (inner, middle or outer) is functioning poorly. This knowledge helps us decide whether an implant could be beneficial.

If a cochlear implant is the right solution for you, then we’ll happily take you through the next steps and get you hearing again with a Cochlear Implant.

A cochlear implant requires both a surgical procedure and therapy, to learn – or relearn – the sense of hearing. Each wearer will have different rehabilitation requirements, and it takes time to get the most from the device. It’s a commitment, but one we’d wholeheartedly recommend, where appropriate.

Replacement & Upgrade Cochlear Implants

We can also assist clients with an existing NHS cochlear implant, in need of a replacement or processor upgrade. Or, as the NHS typically only offers an implant in one ear, you may wish to have a second fitted privately. Rest assured, our experts are here for you, too.

Cochlear Implant Aftercare

Many individuals have concerns about the visibility and longevity of their hearing device. If in-ear hearing aids and cochlear implants are both suitable for you, there’s a choice to be made. It may help to know that implants are exceptionally discreet, and the processor – which is worn behind the ear – can be selected to match hair colour. The internal devices last up to 25 years. That’s an excellent investment!

To determine your suitability, book a diagnostic today.

What to expect: Pre & Post Surgery


To take a broad view of cochlear implant treatment, the process begins with thorough testing. It’s essential that we compile a full audiological profile. If deemed a suitable candidate, we’ll refer you to an ENT surgeon at Cambridge’s Spire Hospital. Following further surgical assessments, the procedure can be booked.


You’ll receive a detailed breakdown of how the implant works, the procedure, and the rehabilitation process long before this happens. But we’ll be on-hand to offer regular support.

Operation Time

The operation is performed under general anaesthetic, taking roughly an hour. It’s typical for patients to be discharged later the same day.

The Big Switch On

One month after surgery, you’ll return to our clinic, where one of our experienced audiologists will fit the processor and switch the device on. You’ll begin hearing immediately, but some time is often required for the brain to begin processing these sounds as normal.

Weekly Visits

Weekly follow-up visits are scheduled through the following month, ensuring you’re comfortable with the experience, and to start working on the aural rehabilitation programme. You will also be given home exercises, to help you adapt more effectively. When this month is through, you should be experiencing positive results.

Twice Yearly Checks

We’ll continue to offer support, with twice-yearly check-ups, ensuring the cochlear implant is performing optimally.

Benefits of our Cochlear Implant Service

  • Reduced waiting times, with faster diagnosis and referral
  • A discreet device that can be easily hidden
  • Quick surgery, with minimal downtime
  • Options for a second implant, as appropriate
  • Processor upgrades
  • Postoperative care, support and aural rehabilitation from experts
  • All related hearing services are available in one clinic
  • Multiple audiologists, offering many years of experience

To find out whether a cochlear implant may be beneficial for you, we’ll need to carry out a Full Diagnostic Assessment, priced at £80.