Cochlear implants

Cochlear implants: for when hearing aids are not enough  

Many severe to profound hearing losses can be treated very successfully with hearing aids. There are people though who have such extensive damage to their hearing that speech nerves are unable to fire, even when a hearing aid provides them with adequate amplification. This is where cochlear implants can help.

Generally speaking, if you understand less than 50% of speech, even with good quality, correctly chosen and fitted hearing aids, then a cochlear implant is recommended.

Before we jump the gun though, many problems associated with poor speech clarity or understanding while wearing hearing aids can be associated with poor quality or incorrectly fitted or chosen hearing aids than actual severe cochlear damage.

But if we have ruled out the above, a cochlear implant may be your next step.

How much does a cochlear implant cost?

The public hospital system in Queensland can cover all costs of a cochlear if the recipient meets Queensland Health’s Cochlear Implant candidacy criteria.

Private health insurance can cover the full cost of the implant and processor and Medicare covers a portion of the surgery and audiological consultation.

Most cochlear implant providers charge a gap which can be anywhere up to $10,000 for audiological services. ENT surgeons and anaesthetists may also charge extra fees on top of the Medicare benefit.

At QVCC, however, you can receive cochlear implants for little to no out of pockets. Grant Collins, principal audiologist and owner of QVCC, believes that the ability to hear is paramount to having an enjoyable and fulfilled life.

That’s why QVCC has structured their pricing model for cochlear implants using a combination of Medicare rebates, including bulk-billing for any pre-surgery vestibular candidacy assessments, and some private health rebates.

Read more about our cochlear and implant pricing and costs here.

Who does cochlear implants in Queensland?

QVCC have 5 permanent clinics in the major hubs of Queensland with an additional reach of over 30 clinics with it’s sister company Clarity Hearing + Balance, Queensland Vestibular + Cochlear throughout Queensland including clinics in regional and remote Queensland. In the past you have had to travel to Brisbane for your implant surgery and then back every few weeks for your implant switch-on and mapping.

QVCC now brings that expertise to all our clinics. You will still need to go to a major centre for the initial implant surgery, but there may be travel subsidies available. QVCC can assist with that. Queensland Vestibular work with implant surgeons in Brisbane, Townsville, Mackay and the Gold Coast.

QVCC also bulk-bills the vestibular candidacy assessments, which we can do locally, for any of our cochlear implant candidates.

After your surgery, mapping and switch-on of your device can be done locally. You won’t need to travel multiple times if you don’t happen to live in one of those major centers.

how does a cochlear implant work

How does a cochlear implant work?

A cochlear implant works by using electrical impulses to activate the nerves of the inner ear directly.

An electrode is surgically implanted into the inner ear and a digital speech processor is either worn on the ear, back of the head or in a pocket.

The speech processor picks up the sound and converts it to an electrical signal.

The electrode then electrically stimulates the nerve in the inner ear associated with the sound picked up by the processor.

What features do cochlear implants have?

Most modern Cochlear processors have many of the same features as hearing aids such as:

  • advanced noise management
  • directional microphones
  • telecoils
  • Bluetooth including direct to iPhone function
  • Compatibility with hearing aids
  • waterproof and dustproof ratings.

Like hearing aids there are several brands of cochlear implants and each has their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Queensland Vestibular can provide any brand to ensure we match your need with the cochlear implant that is best for your hearing outcome.

What are the benefits of cochlear implants?

Everyone will benefit differently from their implant, but below are some of the experiences implant recipients have found.

  • Adults can benefit immediately and will see continuous improvement for about three months after initial tuning sessions. You will continue to get improvement but that improvement will be slower. Remember, you have to train your brain to ‘hear’ in a different way. Some implant recipients say their hearing improves for several years.
  • Your perception of loud, medium and soft sounds improves. Different sounds, such as footsteps, car doors slamming, trains, ringtones, dogs, clocks ticking and so on are deciphered much better.
  • Leave lip-reading behind. Many say they don’t need to try and lip-read anymore to fully understand what is being said. At the very least your cochlear implant will help you lip-read.
  • Watch TV more easily, especially when they can also see the speaker’s face. However, listening to the radio is often more difficult as there are no visual cues available.
  • Make phone calls again. Recognise and understand familiar voices over the phone. Due to the nature of cochlear implants not every recipient will get this benefit.

Call today on 07 4410 9490 0r make an appointment using the button below to discuss how implants can help you… or read on for more cochlear implant information.

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Who makes cochlear implants?

While Australian-based Cochlear are known for the pioneering role they had in developing cochlear implant technology there are many other providers of implant technology. Queensland Vestibular are able to provide technology and devices from all of these to allow you the selection of device required for your hearing loss. The manufacturers we work with and their cochlear implant solutions are listed below.

Advanced Bionics

Advanced Bionics (AB) was established in 1993 and in 2009 became a subsidiary of the Sonova Group (Phonak and Unitron). AB produce several cochlear products.

advanced bionics naida

Advanced Bionics Naida CI

The Naida combines the implant technology from AB and the hearing aid technology from Phonak including:

  • Auto program changes to match your sound environment
  • Stream phone calls to both ears using two processors or a processor and a hearing aid
  • QuickSync allowing changes made to one processor to sync instantly to the other
  • Bimodal and CROS options

advanced bionics neptuneAdvanced Bionics Neptune

Neptune is, as the name suggests, waterproof. But it is also what AB are calling a ‘freestyle’design. You can wear the processor where you want. You are not restricted to wearing it on or near your ear. The Neptune benefits include:

  • Waterproof
  • Freestyle design
  • Removable controls (make it childproof)

Cochlear Limited

Cochlear Limited is the originator of cochlear implant technology. Cochlear Ltd was created in 1981 with funding from the Australian Government to commercially the technology and procedures developed by Dr Graeme Clark.

Cochlear Ltd now have several hearing solutions available including their pioneering cochlear implant technology.

cochlear nucleus 7Cochlear Nucleus 8 including Hybrid options 

The Nucleus 8 is the current implant technology to be released by Cochlear. It features the first sound processor Made for iPhone and Android.

  • It’s Cochlear’s smallest and lightest behind-the-ear processor.
  • Stream to both ears with a processor and compatible hearing aid direct from your iPhone or Android.
  • Adjust settings on the go with the downloadable app or using accessibility functions.

Cochlear Nucleus Kanso2

Kansow is an off the ear, very discreet processor that uses the Nucleus 7 chip. Nothing over the ear, just a small device hidden away in your hair. The Kanso cochlear implant sound processor is designed to fit snugly against your head for comfort and security. It’s so small you can forget it’s there. It will also have induction charging and dircet to smartphone connectivity the same as the N7.

The Kanso uses the Nucleus 7 sound processing technology and has all the same features except it has induction charging.


Founded in 1990 MED-EL is based in Austria and is still a private company. MED-EL was founded by Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair after they developed the first passive single-channel cochlear implant, which was implanted in 1977.

MED-EL provide a range of hearing loss solutions. In the cochlear implant sector they provide the following devices.

medel sonnetMED-EL Sonnet 2

The Sonnet is MED-EL’s behind-the-ear processor. Some of the features of the Sonnet include:

  • Microphone Directionality
  • Water-Resistant Design
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Bimodal options

medel sonnet easMED-EL Sonnet 2 EAS

The Sonnet 2 EAS is MED-EL’s hybrid implant and hearing aid technology allowing treatment of a wider range of hearing loss in one solution. In addition to above also includes:

  • Dedicated acoustic stimulation across the low frequencies and electric stimulation in the high frequencies
  • Microphone directionality
  • Wind noise reduction
  • Automatic volume control

medel rondo 2MED-EL Rondo 3

The latest model from MED-EL and features are similar to the original Sonnet2 except it is an off the ear device.

  • Compact All-in-One Design
  • Comfortable and Discreet
  • Waterproof with WaterWear Accessory
  • Wireless charging
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Bimodal options
  • Connection to neckloops and hearing induction loops

How do I get a cochlear implant?

If you are considering cochlear implants to address severe or profound hearing loss the next step is to make an appointment with QVCC  to discuss your options and how to determine your suitability.

You will need to see an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat specialist) to ensure you are physically suited to cochlear implants. We can assist you in finding an ENT when you are ready for that step as well.

Once we have determined your suitability then it’s just a matter of scheduling the initial implant surgery, the initial switch-on and ongoing mapping and rehabilitation.

If you’d like to arrange a cochlear implant discussion, contact us today and we’ll arrange it for a time that suits you.

Call today on 07 4410 9490 or make an appointment or email us on