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Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery
Hospital  >  Departments  >  Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery  >  Programs and services  >  Cochlear Implant Program  >  Cochlear Implant Process

Cochlear implant process

Assessment & surgery 

All candidates undergoing assessment will first go through detailed audiological assessment and counselling. This initial appointment usually takes 1.5 to 2 hours. If the results of this initial assessment suggest that an individual is a potential candidate, then further testing is scheduled. This includes a high-resolution CT scan, balance test (ENG) and a follow-up appointment with one of the program’s surgeons. Once they are completed then an individual’s candidacy for cochlear implant surgery can usually be confirmed. If the initial testing does not suggest candidacy at that time, patients are so advised and appropriate follow-up recommendations are made.

Testing for the ABI surgery is more involved and requires more specific radiological imaging studies (MRI) and a consultation with the program’s neurosurgeon.

Confirmed candidates for cochlear implant surgery are placed on a waiting list. Surgery is not scheduled until meningitis vaccines have been received as per Health Canada recommendations.


After surgical placement of the implant, a four week period is required to allow adequate healing of the incision site. Initial activation of the cochlear implant (hook-up) is typically a 1.5 hour procedure. During the activation, the device is adjusted and tuned using a computer.

Reprogramming, for which the patient must return to the centre, is done approximately one week following activation, and then periodically over the next few months until stimulation levels stabilize. After the first year, patients will be asked to return to the centre at least annually for reprogramming, an equipment check and a formal evaluation.

Location and contact

Department of Otolaryngology

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue,
M-wing, 1st floor, room M1 102
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5

Phone numbers »

Otolaryngology Clinic:


Hearing Aid:

Cochlear Implant:

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Hours »

Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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