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Implant cochléaire

Intensive initial programming



Once the early activation and recovery period is over, three days will be spent adjusting the external part of the implant; this is known as the “intensive initial programming” period. This mandate is given to the CHU de Québec-UL by the MSSS and is done at L'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec. 

  • Several programming adjustments will be made during the intensive initial programming. This requires patience and perseverance on the part of the implant user. The person will also need to practice listening, as well as receive auditory training, hence the importance of the subsequent intensive functional rehabilitation (IFR).   

  • In general, 3 training sessions (4 for children) of approximately 2 hours each will take place in the Audiology department at the CHU de Québec-UL, L'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec. A postoperative meeting in ENT will also be scheduled. With the exception of young children, 2 visits will also be scheduled at the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale - IRDPQ, St-Louis site to document auditory skills in order to help with the choice of programming. You will be given the schedule in writing on the day of your implant activation. 

  • You must arrange your own transportation between the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale, IRDPQ St-Louis site and L'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec.  Plan your visit at IRDPQ, Saint-Louis site.

  • You will need to check whether you are eligible for financial assistance and confirm which costs are covered. Make sure to keep your receipts. If you need help planning your stay in Québec City, you can contact the rehabilitation centre in your region. 

  • Objective measurements (not requiring the patient’s participation) and subjective measurements (requiring the patient’s participation) are used to determine how much electrical current is required for good perception of speech while respecting comfort levels. The programming methods may vary depending on the type of implant, as well as developments in the technology. 


  • Naturally, children need to be accompanied by an adult during the intensive initial programming period. Note, however, that our premises cannot accommodate a large number of people. The child also needs to remain calm and focused during the sessions: bringing siblings along is therefore not recommended. We also have important information to give to parents, which requires their cooperation and full attention. 

  • Although not mandatory, we nevertheless recommend that adult patients be accompanied. Having a friend or family member present can help with understanding the explanations and recommendations you’ll be given. 

Parts and Accessories

Use and Maintenance of a Cochlear Implant

Questions et réponses

Will a cochlear implant enable me to regain normal hearing ?

A person wearing a cochlear implant continues to have restricted hearing. The cochlear implant may improve the perception of speech and sounds, but some very soft sounds remain inaudible. The cochlear implant makes it possible to hear soft sounds, but analysis of these is not the same as with normal hearing. Therefore, a person wearing a cochlear implant has more difficulty understanding speech than a person with normal hearing. In fact, understanding speech in a noisy environment remains difficult even with the cochlear implant and the perception of music is altered.

Will I be able to hear with my cochlear implant the day after the surgery ?

As soon as the cochlear implant is activated the day after the surgery, the person can hear sounds. However, speech may remain unclear without lipreading. Speech comprehension will improve with the adjustments made during the intensive initial programming period, auditory training and time.

What do sounds “sound” like with a cochlear implant ? Will I hear the same way as I do with my hearing aids ?

According to several adults, sound with a cochlear implant is different than that heard with a hearing aid or with a normal ear.  For some people, sounds may seem metallic, muffled or sharp, and for others, it comes close to the actual sound.  The appreciation of sounds will evolve over time.  At the beginning of the programming, some people may find sound to be unpleasant, but will get used to it afterwards. Children with a significant degree of deafness since birth have nothing to compare the sounds they are hearing with, as they only experienced limited benefits provided by hearing aids.  It will be for them their way of hearing.


When will I benefit from my cochlear implant ?

Adjusting to the new auditory information provided by the cochlear implant requires work and perseverance.  However, the benefits gained vary greatly from one person to another and depend on certain characteristics (duration and degree of deafness, use of hearing aids, language level, etc.).  Generally, the more the profound deafness is of short duration, the more the results obtained with the cochlear implant are interesting and appear rapidly.  As such, a person with short duration deafness can refer more easily to his or her auditory memory to make sense of the new sounds heard with the cochlear implant.