Adult hearing implant skin care

This information is about caring for your skin after your hearing implant has been switched on. 

Due to the advanced technology and surgery for hearing implants, it is rare for there to be complications.

There is no age restriction on having a hearing implant and they are becoming more common. As the number of people with hearing implants increases, we are finding helpful ways to:

  • keep them well maintained
  • reduce skin concerns

The information covers:

If you have any questions, please contact our hearing implant centre.

How your skin looks and feels

It is helpful to recognise how your skin usually looks and feels.

However long the hearing implant has been in place, it is always worth checking your skin around the processor (device that detects sound signals). You can do this twice a week or as soon as possible if you feel any discomfort.

Think about how your skin feels around the site of the hearing implant. You can contact us for advice if your skin feels:

  • itchy
  • uncomfortable
  • different from usual

The thickness of your skin can change with time. It is affected by:

Also, if you have a haircut or your hair gets thinner, more skin may be exposed on the head. This can affect the magnet strength that is needed to keep the processor in place.

Wearing the processor all the time means that you get used to it being there. You might not realise that the skin under the processor is becoming vulnerable.

You could take a digital photo with your phone of the skin around the hearing implant or ask someone else to take a picture. It is useful to store this picture. You then have a photo for comparison if you ever feel that your skin around the implant may have changed. 

Routine for checking your skin

Twice a week, it is important to check the skin:

  • over and around the internal hearing implant
  • under the magnet
  • around where the processor rests behind your ear

We recommend that you follow this routine to check your skin carefully:

  1. Feel the skin over and around the internal hearing implant to check for any swelling or discomfort.
  2. Check that the arm of your glasses does not rub or put pressure on an incision line or around the hearing implant. An incision line is where a small cut was made in the skin during surgery to put in the hearing implant.
  3. Take a photo, and check the site of the surgery scar and all areas of the ear or head where the processor rests. You may need to part your hair or use hair clips. Think about if you feel any tenderness when doing this.

Caring for the processor and magnet

The coil or headpiece of the processor is held in place on your head by a magnet. This needs to be just tight enough so that the processor does not keep falling off in everyday use. At the same time, it should not be too tight.

Your processor may fall off if you are playing sport or being very active. It can help to:

  • use a slightly stronger magnet for sport activities
  • ask our hearing implant centre to give you clips or suggest other ways to stop the processor falling off

If the magnet is too tight to the skin or there is a problem, your skin can:

  • ache
  • feel sore or numb
  • become red (it may be harder to notice the redness on brown and black skin )
  • have a burning feeling

If this continues, it can cause the skin to break down. This may prevent you from wearing the processor for a while.

If the skin continues to get worse, this will need hospital attention. In a serious case, you may need another operation. This is rare, but we want you to take care of your skin to prevent that from happening.

Losing weight can make the skin that covers your head less thick. For this reason, you need to check the magnet strength and the skin on your head more often.

If you notice any change in how your skin feels, reduce the
magnet strength or contact our hearing implant centre to do
this for you. You need to make the processor secure with
clips until you are certain that the magnet can hold it in place. 
It is also important to check your skin around and under the

Resource number: 5485/VER1
Last reviewed: April 2024
Next review due: April 2027

A list of sources is available on request.

Trusted Information Creator. Patient Information Forum

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our hearing implant centre.

Phone: 020 7188 6245

Textphone: 07917 052 375

We are open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Repairs, batteries and advice

Email: [email protected]

We monitor this email address from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm.


Email: [email protected]

Urgent medical help

If you think that you need urgent medical attention, you can come to our urgent care centre at Guy's Hospital. We are open 7 days a week, from 8am to 8pm.

Outside of these hours, you need to go to your nearest emergency department. There are ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors on-call 24 hours a day.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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