With advancements in cochlear implant technology, more and more recipients are able to understand speech without visual cues. However, every individual is unique in regard to their past experience with sound. Some recipients lose their hearing later in life, while others were born deaf or lost their hearing as a young child. The way the recipient has communicated prior to receiving the cochlear implant also determines the type of rehabilitation he or she will need to speak and understand spoken language.
For those who have never been able to understand speech even with the strongest hearing aids, it will take patience and persistence to develop listening skills. The brain must learn or relearn to recognize speech and environmental sounds. Those who heard well with hearing aids or lost their hearing after developing speech and language will have fewer challenges but it will still take time for them to adjust to hearing with a cochlear implant. With listening practice, their memory of sound will help them remember from the past and adjust to hearing with the cochlear implant. Individuals who had a progressive hearing loss or lost their hearing later in life generally have a good memory of hearing and may have less difficulty understanding speech.
For most recipients, learning to speak and hear on the telephone is possible with patience and practice. However, each recipient, along with their audiologist, must evaluate his/her unique hearing history. Reasonable expectations as well as patience and practice are necessary to understand speech without lipreading.