Someone who hears via use of a cochlear implant is considered a pike'ach and not a cheresh, halachically. See this MY question for details.

My question focuses more on the actual workings of the implant. This web site says:

A cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds so they may be detected by damaged ears. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Signals generated by the implant are sent by way of the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes the signals as sound. Hearing through a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to learn or relearn. However, it allows many people to recognize warning signals, understand other sounds in the environment, and understand speech in person or over the telephone.

There is a rule that one does not fulfill his obligation of hearing the shofar sound unless he is, in fact, hearing the original sound of the shofar and not an amplified sound or an echo.

I'm uncertain if the sound heard via implants would be considered an "original" sound or not, and if that would, thus. qualify a wearer to fulfill the mitzvah of hearing shofar.

  • 1
    Is shofar any different than kiddush, zachor, megillah, ...........?
    – Heshy
    Aug 21, 2018 at 18:07
  • @Heshy "There is a rule that one does not fulfill his obligation of hearing the shofar sound unless he is, in fact, hearing the original sound of the shofar and not an amplified sound or an echo."
    – Double AA
    Aug 21, 2018 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


This issue is discussed by R. J. David Bleich here.

A key quote:

The crucial halakhic difference between a hearing aid and a cochlear implant is that the latter does not transform electrical current into amplified sound waves. Rather, it enhances auditory perception by producing electronic impulses capable of stimulating either residual nerve receptors in the cochlea or in the eighth cranial nerve directly. It is certainly arguable that, since no intermediate waves are created, the resulting sounds perceived by the brain are to be classified as having been generated by a human voice. An argument to that effect is presented by Dr. Israel Brema in a contribution to Tehumin, XXIV (5764). If that argument is correct, the recipient of a cochlear implant is at no disadvantage with regard to fulfilling mizvot requiring auditory perception.

So, according to Dr. Brema (with whose position R. Bleich appears to concur) someone with a cochlear implant can indeed fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the shofar.

  • 1
    Thanks. This is a good article. Situation applies to me currently. My son wears implants. So, not only does this answer whether he fulfills the mitzvah, but it also affirms that he can blow Shofar for others.
    – DanF
    Aug 21, 2018 at 21:14
  • 2
    @DanF you should ask you rabbi if the rulings described in this article apply to you. R Bleich is an absolute genius but his rulings don't always match common practice.
    – Double AA
    Aug 21, 2018 at 23:40
  • 1
    @DoubleAA Agreed. I’m not sure whether even R. Bleich would be willing to allow someone with cochlear implants to be a ba’al tekiah.
    – Joel K
    Aug 22, 2018 at 3:48
  • One possible problem. The interesting thing about implants is that it is almost flawless in "processing" music (there is an external speech processor) but faulty in processing speech. Re blowing Shofar - what if the Toke'ah has trouble understanding the makri (person calling the notes)? Is that a problem? Or can we rely on the fact that the toke'ah knows the order of the notes himself, and technically, doesn't need the makri?
    – DanF
    Aug 22, 2018 at 13:08

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