Thursday, August 7

What Does A Cochlear Implant Look Like?

I recorded this video several months ago because as I was remembering our confusion and lack of information when we first heard the words "cochlear implant". What exactly was it? What in the world did this implant look like?

At first I was hoping that Drew wouldn't have to wear hearing aids simply because I feared people or children in school would make fun of him. When we discovered his lack of hearing was more serious than that, I was left wondering what the implants looked like.

I searched for cochlear implant pictures, and I found a picture of an implant that looked like it must have been used in medieval Europe. This thing was a GINORMOUS satellite dish on the side of the kids head, with what looked like cat-5 cable tv cords coming out of it, running to a box the size of a laptop tied to the kids back with barbed wire.

Ok, I exaggerate a bit - but that's what it felt like at that time. So, because I want to make sure curious parents or other members of the public can see what the implant looks like and what pieces it's made of, I give you:

Note: This video is showing Cochlear's Freedom processors with babyworn and snug-fit technologies. Bodyworn or BTE (behind-the-ear) setups can be used, but are just not depicted in this video. What this means is that this setup is for little kids. For bigger kids or adults, you wouldn't have that long cable, it would all sit right on your ear (imagine you "erased" the long cable and only have what's shown above it left).

Please let us know if this video is helpful.

***I've added a captioned version of this video through Overstream. Here it is!


Kel said...

Thank you! Definitely helpful for me. There is a lot out there showing adult cochlear implants, but very little on what smaller children use - especially the snugfit, since they are so new, I've often read about them but never seen exactly what they are.

elizabeth said...

What a fantastic video! There is definitely a need for such a thing. I hope you'll consider adding captions to this video. It's easy to do at If you choose to caption it, please let me know, and I will add your post to the Deaf Village feed ASAP (it cannot be on the feed without CC).

Thanks for making such a great video!

Drew's Dad said...


I am definitely planning on adding captions, and I think I can do it directly from YouTube now. I'm going to give it a try for sure.

Thanks for the idea.

Anonymous said...

Random comment ... but you have such a nice clear voice ... very helpful video! The freedom is such a great device over others that can be worn as baby BTEs as it grows with the user and has the mic on ear level which is natural (unlike MedEl which some users clip to the back of their shirt or in a pony tail). I have worked with two young children with Freedoms and one preferred a body worn controller so had a small processor behind his ear and pouches sewn into an undershirt. A 12 month old was going to do the same set up, but the body worn ended up being faulty and so Mom put the mapped standard BTEs on him with some toupee tape and he's never been happier and since he had so much mold aversion with his hearing aids, she hasn't tried the snugfits since he is happy as can be. A long ramble later ... thanks for your video!

leahlefler said...

You guys are so awesome! Even though we're firmly in HA territory now, it is nice to see how a CI goes together. You have done a wonderful job of providing information that eases the anxiety of parents.

tammy said...

What a great post! As soon as we heard the word "cochlear implant" we thought it was just that, an implant. Then we googled it and saw pictures of it ... and we cried ... like you said, they looked GINORMOUS! Now of course, they don't phase us, but seeing this video even puts it all in more perspective. I always wondered what each part was. Plus we're in the process of choosing, so seeing the Cochlear product torn apart and put together was just fantastic! You all are wonderful! Thank you!

23 Weekers said...

Thank you for the post and positive comments. We have a profoundly deaf child that will get his first implant within the next month.

elizabeth said...

Wow! Thank you so much for putting in the extra effort to make this great video more accessible. I'm going to put it up on Deaf Village right now. Once I hit "approve," it will show up under its original posted date on the DV main page. Thank you so much! This video is great!

Ian Gabrielson said...

Thank you for making the video. And blog. Very useful!