Cochlear implants


A surgically implanted device to treat severe hearing loss

Cochlear implants work by stimulating the nerves in the inner ear to send sound signals to the brain.


A cochlear implant is an electronic device that can be suitable for those who are profoundly deaf. It has several different parts — some are surgically implanted under the skin and some are worn on the body. It works by stimulating the nerves in the inner ear to send sound signals to the brain.

Need to know

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you and let you know how to prepare for your surgery and what to expect.

    You'll need to be assessed to make sure you're a suitable candidate for a cochlear implant. You may be able to have a cochlear implant for one ear or two (one for each ear).

  • What happens icon plus

    Cochlear implant surgery is carried out under a general anaesthetic, which means you'll be asleep.

    Your surgeon will shave a small area of your hair behind your ear. They will then make a cut behind your ear and drill through the bone, into the middle ear and into the cochlea. The internal part of the device will be inserted and your surgeon will stitch up the cut.

    The surgery will take two to five hours. You’ll wake with a large bandage on your head. The implant will be turned on a few weeks later.

  • Afterwards icon plus

    Most patients feel better quite quickly. You'll be cared for in hospital for one to two days after surgery.

    For children who have had a cochlear implant, we work closely with Auditory Verbal UK. This is a registered charity that teaches deaf babies and children to listen and speak, using Auditory Verbal Therapy.

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From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • The Portland Hospital Facility

    The Portland Hospital

    205 - 209 Great Portland Street


    W1W 5AH

    Children's enquiries 020 3797 3580
    Maternity enquiries 020 3468 6141
    Gynaecology enquiries 020 3797 3846

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street


    SE1 2PR

    Enquiries 020 7407 3100
    Appointments 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

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