About Cochlear Implants

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is a small, electronic device that is surgically placed under the skin behind the ear. It provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing by bypassing the damaged cochlea and sending sounds electronically to the brain.

A cochlear implant can give a deaf person a useful auditory understanding of the environment and help him or her to understand speech, as well as communicate orally. Cochlear implants were designed for people who obtain little benefit from hearing aids.

How does a cochlear implant work?

A cochlear implant creates a new way of hearing. It consists of an internal implant which is surgically inserted into the inner ear, and the external sound processor that is worn on the ear or the body.


Here's how the basic parts of a cochlear implant work:

(1) Sound is captured by the microphone and sent to the processor
(2) The sound processor converts sound into detailed digital information
(3) The magnetic headpiece sends the digital signals to the cochlear implant
(4) The cochlear implant sends electrical signals to the hearing nerve
(5) The hearing nerve sends impulses to the brain, where they are interpreted as sound


Why choose an Advanced Bionics cochlear implant system?


AB has a partnership with Phonak hearing aids, which provides access to leading research and development.


Compatible with cell phones, MP3 players and other audio devices.


AB has one industry’s highest reliability rating.


Easy to use with flexible wearing and sound processor options.


Our implant electronics are compatible and upgradeable with future technology, without the need for further surgery.


Cost-effective and environmentally friendly use of rechargeable batteries.


AB has the highest protection against dust and water.


Latest processing strategy ensures greater music enjoyment.


AB has the highest impact resistance (can withstand 6 Joules impact to head).


AB features leading trademarked noise-reduction technology (ClearVoice).


Improved sound quality through high resolution processing.


The internal implant features the industry’s smallest pre-curved array with low-profile, surgery-friendly design for less intrusive implantation.



Industry’s highest number of independent current sources for precise current steering to improve pitch perception.

Who is your cochlear implant team?

To determine if a person is a candidate for a cochlear implant, a comprehensive evaluation will be conducted by the multidisciplinary team of experts of the Ear Institute Cochlear Implant Unit, comprising ENT surgeons, radiologists, audiologists, rehabilitation specialists, cochlear implant specialists, psychologists and a full-time fundraiser.

The Ear Institute currently has teams based in Gauteng, Western Cape and Namibia.


Ear Institute Cochlear Implant Team (Pretoria)

From left: Dr Jannet Izeboud (ENT Surgeon), Jayne Barnard (Audiologist and Rehabilitation Co-ordinator), Dr Gerrie Moolman (ENT Surgeon), Prof Louis Hofmeyr (ENT Surgeon) and Dr Catherine van Dijk (Head: Cochlear Implant Division/Cochlear Implant Specialist).

(click on the names below to find out more about each team member).

Dr Catherine van Dijk (Head: Cochlear Implant Division/Cochlear Implant Specialist)
  • Additional licensing in cochlear implants since 2004
  • Previously University of Pretoria Senior Lecturer in Auditory Brainstem Response and Cochlear Implants
  • PhD on inclusion of children with Cochlear Implants
  • Numerous presentations and publications
Dr Gerrie Moolman (ENT Surgeon)
  • ENT Surgeon since 2001, specialising in cochlear implants since 2007
  • Special interest in skull base, head and neck surgery
Jayne de Smidt (Audiologist and Rehabilitation Co-ordinator)
  • Head of Audiology at Eduplex School
  • Extensive experience in rehabilitation of children with hearing loss
  • Affiliated to University of Pretoria Cochlear Implant Unit
  • Post-graduate certificate in Education and Specialised Training in the Auditory-Oral Approach
Dr Jannet Izeboud (ENT Surgeon)
  • Practicing since 2007 in Otology
  • International training in cochlear implant surgery
  • Special interest in middle ear surgery