Programming of the speech processor of the cochlear implant is commonly called “Mapping”. The first mapping session is called “switch-on”.
Mapping involves programming of the device by an audiologist who has special expertise in the field of cochlear implants. This is done at regular intervals, so that the recipient can hear very soft sounds and also loud sounds at a comfortable level. The cochlear implant device can process only a limited range of sounds as compared to our normal range of hearing . Thus it needs to compress the natural range of sounds into a small band. During the mapping process, the stimulation levels of the cochlear implant’s internal electrode array are adjusted so that the user can hear the wide range of sounds that he / she may be exposed to.
Each “map” is individual to its user and changes over time. Maps may become weak, soft, or less clear as tissue grows around the electrode array, or if the user “adapts” to the map. This may result in sound becoming less clear or not being heard as a loud enough signal. Therefore regular visits to the audiologists for repeated mapping sessions are an integral part of the post implant habilitation.