A cochlear implant system is a device used to enable hearing in people with severe hearing loss and consists of an internal implant and external speech processor. This study considers the effect of scattered radiofrequency fields when these persons are subject to mobile phone type exposure. A worst-case scenario is considered where the antenna is operating at nominal full power, the speech processor is situated behind the ear using a metallic hook, and the antenna is adjacent to the hook and the internal ball electrode. The resultant energy deposition and thermal changes were determined through numerical modelling. With a 900 MHz half-wave dipole antenna producing continuous-wave (CW) 250 mW power, the maximum 10 g averaged SAR was 1.31 W/kg which occurred in the vicinity of the hook and the ball electrode. The maximum temperature increase was 0.33°C in skin adjacent to the hook. For the 1800 MHz antenna, operating at 125 mW, the maximum 10 g averaged SAR was 0.93 W/kg in the pinna whilst the maximum temperature change was 0.16°C. The analysis predicts that the wearer complies with the radiofrequency safety limits specified by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for 900 and 1800 MHz mobile phone type exposure and thus raises no cause for concern. The resultant temperature increase is well below the maximum rise of 1°C recommended by ICNIRP. Effects in the cochlea were insignificant. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.