Two Ears

Only when using two cochlear implants are children who are born deaf able to tell if a sound is from the right, left, or front.

Children who receive cochlear implants in both ears early on in life can learn to identify directions and communicate more easily in noisy conditions.

The earlier a child gets a second cochlear implant, the easier it will be to integrate inputs from both sides.

Experience description

You might ask yourself how a cochlear implant sounds. This is still matter of research. But, you can already find out in the chapter "Meet Your Friends" how much losing even one healthy ear reduces your ability to follow a normal conversation. In "Spatial Hearing" you can test if you can still identify the direction of a sound with only one healthy ear. Can you anticipate how much benefit a second cochlear implant can provide a child who is born without hearing? Let's ask a cochlear implant surgeon.

How well children with bilateral cochlear implants are able to identify the location of a sound has been tested by many researchers. Audiologist Catherine Killan [1] worked with children who received their second implant either at the same time as the first implant, or at different periods after the first one. She used a very playful method. Monitors in front of loudspeakers showed pictures of toys. Young children indicated the direction of a sound by putting the respective toy into a box. Older children simply pointed to the direction of the loudspeaker. Interestingly, the implant technology also seems to make a difference to how well a child can identify the direction of a sound (


  1. Killan C, Scally A, Killan E, Totten C, Raine C. (2018). Factors Affecting Sound-Source Localization in Children with Simultaneous or Sequential Bilateral Cochlear Implants. Ear Hear. 2018 Oct 5. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000666.
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