The benefit of cochlear implantation crucially depends on the ability of the brain to learn to classify neural activity evoked by the cochlear implant. Brain plasticity is a complex property with massive developmental changes after birth. The present paper reviews the experimental work on auditory plasticity and focuses on the plasticity required for adaptation to cochlear implant stimulation. It reviews the data on developmental sensitive periods in auditory plasticity of hearing, hearing-impaired and deaf, cochlear-implanted, animals. Based on the analysis of the above findings in animals and comparable data from humans, a cochlear implantation within the first 2 years of age is recommended.