Living with an Implant
There are only a few things that an implant will stop you from doing . You will be advised not to take part in contact sports such as boxing, where you might be hit on the head. Swimming is rarely a problem now as modern processors are often waterproof or resistant. Check first with your CI Centre. Of course you will take off your processor to wash and shower and go to sleep. So whilst you remain deaf during these periods you are now free to do virtually anything else and enjoy the hearing benefits from your implant. As a general rule, the longer you have an implant and the more you use it, the more benefit you will get from it.
A full list of all the care and safety points about using an implant can also be seen on the Guidelines page. Although the information set out there may seem daunting, in most cases the risks are very small!
Very useful information on issues affecting deaf and deafened people when travelling is set out in the Disabled Travel Guide.
Although you should have received some hearing therapy and training after switch on, it doesn’t stop there. You should continue with the training at home by listening to audio books. These can be borrowed from your local library and need to be the full, unabridged versions so that the recording that you listen to exactly matches the printed volume. As you listen to the recording and read the book in step at the same time , your brain will associate the sounds you hear with the words that you see and this will re-enforce your memory patterns of those words. Also consider taking lip reading classes which will help you even though you have an implant.
Computer based training programmes can be a great help. Suitable for both adults and teenagers these resources lets one take personal control of the training programme.
Sound Success is a modern comprehensive such resource published by Advanced Bionics yet available to all users irrespective of their device.
Seeing & Hearing Speech is an commercially available programme
Angel Sound is an interactive listening rehabilitation training programme
There is also another computer based training programme, Phenomena (mindweavers.co.uk) which reinforces the brain’s ability to distinguish between phonemes which are the building blocks of language. Tests have shown that this language based training programme is of benefit to implant users.
Music appreciation is difficult for many and again you will benefit from training to listen to music. A series of subtitled music tracks can be found here on youtube.
Choose an artist from the selection on YouTube and enjoy.
There is a very useful music rehabilitation programme named IMAP to help CI users re-engage with music.
Will a cochlear implant affect my tinnitus?
If you are profoundly deaf, you may also have tinnitus. Tinnitus is the word for noises that some people experience such as buzzing, ringing, whistling, hissing and other sounds. Most people with a cochlear implant find that their tinnitus is reduced or less noticeable. However, occasionally, people with implants report that their tinnitus is worse. So if tinnitus is a problem for you, it is important to get advice from the team at the implant centre.
Accessories for your Sound Processor
Most of the current cochlear implant systems offer a wide variety of accessories designed for a variety of different listening situations. (See Accessories)
Accessories for your Home
You will benefit from having alerting support in your home.