January 1, 2024

Caring for Your Cochlear Implants: Dos and Don'ts

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Caring for Your Cochlear Implants: Dos and Don'ts

Cochlear implants have revolutionized the world of hearing healthcare, providing a lifeline to those with severe or profound hearing loss. They are complex devices that require careful handling and maintenance to ensure optimal performance.

We’re here to provide comprehensive guidance on the dos and don'ts of caring for your cochlear implants. If you have any concerns or queries, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with the audiologists at The Hearing Spa, who also offer Cochlear Implant Mapping among other services.

Understanding Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that helps to stimulate the auditory nerve, allowing users to perceive sound. It consists of two main components: an external part, known as the sound processor, and an internal part that is surgically implanted under the skin.

Unlike hearing aids, which amplify sound, cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. This technology enables users to perceive sounds, helping them with speech understanding, communication, and overall quality of life improvement, especially in environments where traditional hearing aids are less effective. Their use is most beneficial for those who have lost their hearing due to nerve-related issues rather than those born with congenital deafness.

Activities to Avoid with Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are robust and designed to withstand everyday activities. However, there are certain activities that can potentially damage the device or put the user at risk of injury.

Here are a few of these activities to avoid when wearing hearing aids.

High-Impact Activities

Thrillseekers take note: activities that involve high speeds or extreme forces can potentially dislodge the internal implant. This includes diving from a diving board, high-speed amusement park rides, and certain martial arts that involve throwing.

**Exposure to Static Electricity or Magnetic forces

Static electricity can potentially damage the internal components of the implant, so touching a Van der Graaf generator in a science lesson or a cathode ray tube television screen should be avoided. And if you work in an environment where you are subjected to high magnetic fields, it’s worth seeking advice from your cochlear implant provider or a healthcare professional.

Medical Treatments to Avoid

Certain medical treatments can interfere with the functioning of the cochlear implant or even damage the device:

Electrosurgery and Diathermy

Electrosurgery, including monopolar and bipolar electrosurgery, should never be used in the head and neck region. Therapeutic diathermy should also be avoided.


Neurostimulation should never be used over the cochlear implant as it can interfere with the device's function.

Electro-Convulsive Therapy

Electro-convulsive therapy is not recommended while wearing cochlear implants.

Medical Treatments to Seek Advice For

Certain medical treatments may be permissible with cochlear implants, but it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional beforehand. These treatments include MRI scans, ultrasound, TENS machines for pain relief, and certain dental treatments such as the use of an ultrasonic tooth cleaner.

Removing the External Part of the Cochlear Implant

There are certain situations where you will need to remove the external part of the cochlear implant. This includes when undergoing X-ray examinations, when involved in vigorous or contact sports that may involve a knock to the head, and when swimming unless the device is waterproof or you are using a waterproof accessory.

Caring for Your Cochlear Implant

Proper care and maintenance of your cochlear implant can extend its lifespan and ensure optimal performance.

Cleaning the External Components

Regular cleaning of the external components of the cochlear implant is essential for maintaining the device's performance. You can use a soft, dry cloth to gently clean the microphone, cable, and sound processor.

Handling and Storing the Cochlear Implant

Handle your cochlear implant with care. Avoid dropping the device or exposing it to extreme temperatures. When not in use, store the cochlear implant in a dry and clean place. Keep it away from pets and small children.

Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups with your audiologist are crucial for ensuring that your cochlear implant is functioning optimally. During these visits, we can also adjust the settings of the device to match your hearing needs.

While cochlear implants have significantly improved the quality of life for many individuals, they require specific care and precautions to function optimally. Our team at The Hearing Spa is always ready to help when caring for your cochlear implant and ensuring you gain the most benefit from this life-changing technology.

Written by
Reviewed by
Dr. Victoria L. Moore
Lead Audiologist
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Dr. Victoria Moore (Vicky) serves as President as well as Lead Audiologist at The Hearing Spa. She moved to the USA from England in 1991 and has been serving the communities of Sarasota and Bradenton for over 20 years. Her independent audiology practice focuses on adult hearing loss, tinnitus management, as well as Cochlear Implant services.


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