A cochlea stimulation system includes a patient wearable system comprising an externally wearable signal processor (WP) and a headpiece in electronic communication with an implanted cochlear stimulator (ICS). The ICS comprises eight output stages each having two electrically isolated capacitor-coupled electrodes, designated "A" and "B", circuits for monitoring the voltages on these electrodes, and circuits for both transmitting status information to and receiving control information from the WP. Based upon information received from the WP, a processor within the ICS can control both the frequency and the widths of the output stimulation pulses applied to the electrodes and may select which electrodes to monitor. The ICS receives power and data signals telemetrically through the skin from the WP. To save power, the ICS may be "powered down" by the WP based upon the absence of audio information or "powered up" if audio is present. The WP communicates with the headpiece over a co-axial cable using one frequency for transmitting signals and a second different frequency for receiving signals.