The University of Southampton

Ideas for listening practise

Below are some ideas for further practice a patient can do in order to get used to the sound of their cochlear implant.

  • Go around the house making noise – boil the kettle, turn the tap on, flush the toilet, jangle the cutlery!


  • Try out music early on – it will sound very strange at first – the idea is to pick out the rhythm and beat. Try music that the patient knew prior to loosing their hearing if possible. Each time they listen to the same piece of music try and pick out new sounds. Listening to music is a great way of improving speech discrimination as music involves changing frequencies and tones – a good listening work out! Have a go with the Interactive Music Appreciation Programme. This will introduce the patient to a variety of sounds.


  • Get family and friends involved – ask them to read aloud from a newspaper or magazine whilst the patient follows the text. This will help them tune in to the speech.


  • Try the direct connect leads or streaming devices once they are issued. Plugging into an iPad or tablet and listening to music or work through training apps in this way provides a more intense, focused signal. You can also use headphones. 20 minutes of focused listening practise each day will really help progress.


  • Watching the TV with subtitles and the sound turned up enough to be audible (or streamed via a TV Link or other accessory) is very useful as it provides visual clues when listening.


  • Going from a very quiet place to noisy places can be very difficult for patients. Introducing more sounds into the home can help people get used to hearing in noise.


  • Audio books can be helpful – the books need to be unabridged. We have a supply of these which can be loaned to patients. For some people, children’s audio books can be useful as the pace of listening is a little slower and there can be an indication of when you need to turn the page.


  • If the patient wears a hearing aid in the other ear it is a good idea to try some focused practise with the cochlear implant alone. This will help the brain tune in to the new signal rather than focus on the hearing aid.


  • One of the implant companies (Advanced Bionics) have a very useful online interactive auditory training programme. There is a charge for using this site. However USAIS can provide their patients with a voucher in order to use the site for free. Visit AB Sound Success.

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