All children should be able to enjoy getting wet, running through the water and generally enjoying the great outdoors in the summer! For parents of children with cochlear implants however, the thought of water can ring alarm bells.
Whether your child has a waterpoof cochlear implant, such as the Advanced Bionics Neptune processor, or another hearing technology, there are ways to ensure your deaf child has a great summer. Here are my Cochlear Implant Care Tips that can make summer enjoyable and carefree for everyone.
If you have yet to decide which cochlear implant to fit your child with, consider choosing the waterproof option right from the begining. Harry has the Advanced Bionics Neptune™ processor, a cochlear implant technology that we mainly chose specifically for its waterproof technology. When we first thought about getting Harry fitted with a cochlear implant, we wanted something totally water resistant so Harry could swim or splash around under a sprinkler just like his buddies without anything becoming damaged.
Neptune is the the first and only swimmable sound processor in the world, and features the industry’s only freestyle™ design for the freedom to choose your wearing style without compromising performance.
If your child already has a cochlear implant, research if the manufacturers offer aqua kits. These kits usually come with a water-resistant case that is places over the headpiece and mic and processors, which allow cochlear implant users to enjoy the sounds of the water and communicate with an ease while swimming.
It’s always handy to have other forms of communications available for your deaf child, in case their cochlear implant comes off, or if for some reason they cannot wear their hearing technology in the water.
Simple sign language for babies and toddlers is obviously a great way of communicating. A dry erase board to write messages on could also be an option if your child is of reading age, especially if the parent is lounging on a chair on the pool deck, and the child is in the water.
It isn’t just water that we need to protect our little ones cochlear implants from. Things like mud, sand, sweat and general grime can damage internal and external parts of the cochlear implant, which means daily maintenance is extremely important.
Try to get in the habit of checking and cleaning the devices everyday, especially after a fun filled day at the beach, as sand gets EVERYWHERE! You might find that the microphones can become clogged up and will need cleaning or changing more regularly that other times of the year. Also products such as Ear Gear can help protect the devices from moisture as they act like a sweat band.
We tend to put Harry’s devices into his dry and store box every night when he is in bed and his batteries are charging. This ensures moisture is kept at bay, which is even more important in the summer. If you are going to be somewhere without electricity or need to dry them out on the go, a seal-able food bag with a little uncooked rice in does the trick for a temporary fix.
As your child gets more independent, they’re face different summertime activities. One of these could be even riding water park or theme park rides, which could also pose hazards to the hearing technology.
Accessories, such as ear molds, headbands, clips or a string cord ensures the cochlear implants will stay in place on theme park rides, or even when jumping around in a water park. Taking these extras precautions will make you and your child feel more comfortable in these common summertime activities.
I would love to hear of any tips or tricks you have for looking after your child’s cochlear implant in the summer! Please let me know your experiences in the comment section below!