What does it sound like to hear with a cochlear implant? A viral TikTok claims to have the answer

For the hearing-impaired, cochlear implants can be absolutely life-changing. But few of us actually know what it sounds like to slip on one of those tiny wearable devices and hear words, voices and even music for the first time ever — or for the first time in a long time.

However, a viral TikTok is attempting to explain exactly what that experience is like — and now, much like the video that revealed what near- and farsighted people see without their glasses, the footage is fascinating TikTokers.

“We had a follower ask what sounds sound like through a Cochlear Implant,” the TikTok account @asignofmagic wrote in the post caption. “this is as close an example as we can find!”


We had a follower ask what sounds sound like through a Cochlear Implant. this is as close an example as we can find! #cochlearimplant #ASL #Deaf

♬ original sound – ASignOfMagic

The 40-second clip then cycles through what a person with a cochlear implant hears when various tones are played, followed by several sentences of speech. In both cases, the video plays the “input” sound first, followed by what a patient actually hears through the implant, which is a bit less clear with a touch of static, but still an incredible improvement.

“it may sound weird to a hearing person, but for someone who has only known this to be what noises sound like- it’s not strange at all!” @asignofmagic later added in the comments section.

While it’s unclear where the original video came from, the reaction has been overwhelming.

On the one hand, a lot of people found the clip impressive and even heartwarming.

“Whoa!” one user commented. “That’s incredible.”

“Oh my gosh !” added someone else. “My jaw dropped, I am just so fascinated about this! Thank you so much for sharing !!”

Several people in the comments shared their own personal experiences and explained that the sounds get clearer in time as your brain adjusts.

“i have cochlear implants (had them my whole life) and it doesn’t sound like this, at least for me,” one TikToker assured.

“This is how it sounds at first, 4 months later it’s sounding more normal,” someone else explained. That said, they clarified that it would “never” be the same as what a hearing person experiences.

According to Forbes Health, research shows that roughly 48 million Americans currently live with hearing loss, and about two to four out of every 1,000 people in the U.S. are considered “functionally deaf.”

But while most of these patients are 65 years and older, there are many who have lived with hearing impairment their entire lives. For those, such technological advances as cochlear implants can be transformative.

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