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Living with Your Cochlear Implant – What Does a Cochlear Implant Sound Like

Living with Your Cochlear Implant - What Does a Cochlear Implant Sound Like

This is an interesting perspective to delve into more and understand what users hear when they are wearing the cochlear implants. Everyone’s perception and hearing experience is different, so there is no single answer for what a cochlear implant sounds like. However, we can help you understand how regular hearing and hearing with cochlear implants work, to compare and imagine the sounds.  

Regular hearing

It is important to understand how regular hearing works, so that you can understand how it is like with cochlear implants. 

(Image from Cochlear Americas)

1. The outer ear collects sound waves from the surrounding environment and sends it down to the ear canal.
2. These sound waves cause the eardrum and 3 tiny ear bones to vibrate. The vibration travels down the 3 tiny ear bones to the cochlea.
3. Tiny little hairs of the sensory cells in the cochlea begin to move when the vibration reaches it, which proceeds to transmit electrical signals to the audiological nerves.
4. These electrical signals then flow up to the brain where it is interpreted as sound. 

Aided hearing with cochlear implant technology

After educating yourself on regular hearing, now you can take one step further and understand how hearing is like with cochlear implants. In the same process of how regular hearing works, the cochlear implant replaces the job of the little hairs of the sensory cells. 

The hearing experience with cochlear implant varies across all users, but many people have described what they are hearing as robotic or cartoon-like voices, with echoey and buzzy sounds. You can search on what cochlear implants sound like on YouTube.  

Cochlear implants often sound distorted when it is first activated and may sound unnatural and uncomfortable to the user at first. This is common and it will take a few weeks for the implant to be fully functional. There will be fine-tuning sessions to adjust implants for optimized hearing experience and performance, as well as audiological rehabilitation to learn how to listen and understand the new sounds from the implant. With these, the user can improve their conversational skills while talking to others and be more secure with their implants.At Cochlear Implant Singapore, we have more than 4 decades of global and regional experience in the assessment of hearing, consultations, and treatments. We aim to be a safe space for people who have undergone cochlear implant or are planning to, as well as for their loved ones too. If you are not sure which cochlear implant to choose,  book a consultation with us today to find out more about the cochlear implant treatment options out there.