Understanding Cochlear Implants

In Singapore, hearing loss is a significant issue affecting individuals across various age groups, impacting their communication abilities and overall quality of life. Cochlear implant surgery emerges as a promising solution for those experiencing severe hearing loss, providing a new avenue to perceive sound. Let’s find out more about what cochlear implants are, how they work, and before recommending them to you or your loved one, if there are any age restrictions or prerequisites to be eligible for it. 

What Are Cochlear Implants, And How Do They Work?

Cochlear implants are groundbreaking medical devices that offer individuals with severe hearing loss the opportunity to perceive sound. Unlike traditional hearing aids that amplify sounds, cochlear implants work by bypassing damaged portions of the ear to stimulate the auditory nerve directly, enabling users to receive a sense of sound.

Benefits and Advantages

Cochlear implants provide a bridge to a fuller life for those with severe hearing loss, enhancing engagement with the world around them in profound ways. The advantages of cochlear implants are manifold:

  • They significantly improve the ability to understand speech, even in noisy environments.
  • For children who are deaf or severely hard of hearing, these implants can enhance speech and language development, aligning their abilities closer to those of their hearing peers.
  • Implants often lead to increased comfort and ease in social situations, as users can better participate in conversations and activities. 

Are Cochlear Implants Better Than Traditional Hearing Aids?

Cochlear implants are often the preferred choice for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss. They offer a unique solution that bypasses damaged ear parts to stimulate the auditory nerve directly. This advanced technology significantly improves speech understanding in various environments and aids in the development of speech and language skills, particularly in children, enhancing their communication abilities.

Conversely, traditional hearing aids are best suited for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. They focus on amplifying sound to improve hearing and speech understanding in quieter settings. These devices are noninvasive and do not require surgery, making them a straightforward, cost-effective option for effectively managing hearing loss through amplification.

Should I Get A Cochlear Implant Surgery?

Deciding on cochlear implant surgery necessitates a detailed evaluation by audiologist professionals in Singapore. It’s crucial to have realistic expectations and be aware of how recent technological improvements have made cochlear implants more efficient and easier to use.

Cochlear Implant SurgeryCost

The cost of cochlear implant surgery in Singapore encompasses several factors, including the price of the device, the surgical procedure, and necessary aftercare. These implants are included in the Ministry of Health’s Implant Subsidy List (ISL), offering financial assistance. Under this subsidy framework, Singapore residents may receive subsidies up to 80% to help manage costs. 

Are There Age Restrictions for Cochlear Implant Surgery In Singapore?

Early cochlear implantation is emphasised due to its critical role in brain development, particularly for acquiring speech and language skills. The most significant brain changes occur within the first two years of life, making early auditory stimulation essential. 

Clinical evidence supports the early provision of cochlear implants to children who don’t benefit from hearing aids, with the ideal age for implantation being as young as 10 to 12 months. To maximise developmental outcomes, surgery before the age of 3 is strongly advised, even earlier when feasible. To understand more about Cochlear Implant Surgery, NUH has a comprehensive brochure to help you understand more about the procedure.

Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

Successful adaptation to cochlear implants significantly depends on post-surgery rehabilitation. This phase is crucial for patients, especially children, to achieve the best outcomes from their cochlear implants, involving targeted speech therapy and auditory training.


Cochlear implants offer a transformative approach for individuals with severe hearing loss, providing a pathway to clearer sound perception and communication. They are particularly impactful for those who find traditional hearing aids insufficient. It’s essential for Singapore residents to seek tailored advice from local hearing test clinics or centres to understand the potential advantages of cochlear implant surgery. Consulting with audiologist professionals and hearing aid specialists is crucial for a thorough evaluation, ensuring that cochlear implants are a fitting solution for one’s unique hearing needs.

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I started experiencing loss of hearing sometimes in 2010 (41 years old) owing to some medical issue. I was having difficulties hearing conservation especially in meeting. Thus, giving me the fear in attending meeting.

Initially I started with Phonak hearing aid. It helps amplified the sound and I could hear better then. Somehow, my hearing loss deteriorated further that in late 2012 (43 years old), there was profound loss of hearing on my right ear. Even digital hearing aid could not help. On my left ear there is still about 50% to 60% hearing with hearing aid. I was lost at this point of time. I was considering learning sign language. I went to see my ENT specialist and my audiologist Mr. Bala advised me to go for an CI as an alternative to my hearing loss.

I also thank God for Engineer and Scientist, giving them the knowledge to create such a complex and sophisticate device to help those with hearing loss like me. It will be all perfect if the cost is affordable too.
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I took my mum to Listening Lab at Simei to get her hearing aid fixed, during our first visit, she patiently explained the whole procedure to my mum and also explain to my mum why she really in need to fix the hearing aid. She is very knowledgeable, and friendly, and we are encouraged to ask questions. she is also very patient with old people which is the most importance. Also her after service is superb so I highly recommend.
Mdm Goh
My mum, Madam Kek (73 year old) had the Cochlear implant (CI) done on her left side in 10th September 2019. Thereafter, thanks to the subsequent auditory verbal therapy, evaluation from SGH ENT team, as well as, the support from AB's and Listening Lab staffs; Madam Kek was able to hear, comprehend sound and music from her Cochlear implant, Naida CI Q90, and hearing aid (HA), Naida Link UP, for her right side before end year. We are happy that both the CI and HA have improved mum qualify of life. Now Madam Kek is looking forward to work again to pass her time as she can hear and better communicate with others.
Madam Kek
Titus was implanted when he was 18 months old. He is a happy, talkative 6.5 years old now. AB has been with him for 5 wonderful hearing years and we are looking forward to a bright future that lies ahead for him. AB’s Naída CI sound processors are reliable and the technology is constantly evolving and upgrading. When Titus was introduced to Naida Link CROS, his life was enriched. The wireless network established between his Naida CI sound processor and a Naida Link CROS transmitter allows him to hear from both ears. This changes Titus’s life and the way we interact with him. We are also very pleased with the prompt response and service provided to us. The staff in AB genuinely cares! We want to thank AB for making Titus’s hearing journey an enjoyable and a relatively stress free one!
Titus Pang
mr tan
I have been living with progressive hearing loss for more than three decades. Socially, I find myself fearful of communicating with people and at home, watching 'soundless' television programs is a norm.

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