The aim of rehabilitation is to make the sound through the implant become meaningful. Even for those recently deafened, it is likely that the sound through the implant will (at least at first) be different to what they remember. For those with no memory of sound (for example, those born profoundly deaf) the rehabilitation process may take longer.
This is usually a team consisting of specialist speech and language therapists and specialist teachers of the deaf. Other professionals with appropriate skills will commonly be involved.
The rehabilitation programme is a structured set of exercises designed to facilitate the cochlear implant user making sense of the sound signal. It might begin with exercises exploring how the user can simply detect sounds. Some users report that when they first begin to use the implant, many things sound the same. One of the goals of the process is to help the user differentiate between sounds, and then words in speech.
The cochlear implant user's speech and language skills are taken into account during the rehabilitation programme. A specialist speech and language therapist may advise on promoting speech and language development in children who have been without access to sound before their implant.
The overall rehabilitation programme is tailored to the needs of the individual adult or child. As with programming it is usual that more visits/appointments will be required in the earlier stages of the process.