What is a Cochlear Implant?

A Cochlear Implant is an electronic device that is surgically inserted to replace the function of damaged hair cells in the inner ear (cochlea) and provide direct electrical stimulation to the hearing nerve.

A cochlear implant system consist of two parts:

  • an implant which is surgically placed under the skin and connected to the electrode array that is inserted into the inner ear (cochlea)
  • an external sound processor

A cochlear implant allows the recipient to access speech and environmental sounds. There are many factors that will determine whether a person with a hearing loss is a suitable candidate to receive a cochlear implant, as well as the long term success of an implant. 

The Process

Assessment by the ENT-surgeon, audiologist and speech therapist to determine appropriate candidacy for cochlear implantation.

An operation under general anaesthetic is performed by a qualified surgeon, who implants the device and inserts the electrode in the cochlea.

Activation of the external speech processor by the audiologist and regular programming sessions of the device referred to as MAPping sessions to enable the recipient to have optimal access to sound.  Programming (MAPping) of the device requires long term follow-up and long term commitment from the recipient.

Aural habilitation/rehabilitation for children and adults following cochlear implantation to facilitate optimal benefit and outcome from the device.

Who is a Candidate?

A person is a Cochlear Implant candidate when they no longer achieve adequate benefit from their hearing aids. A recipient can be a baby, a child or an adult, with a sudden hearing loss, a progressive hearing loss or a congenital hearing loss.   

The disciplinary team at JCIC are able to perform the necessary medical-, audiological- and communication assessments to determine candidacy for a cochlear implant.


A cochlear implant is an expensive electronic device.  Funding of the device can be possible by means of :

  • medical aid coverage/contribution
  • private funding/fundraising
  • donation/sponsorships