Cochlear implants are a wonderful innovation that enable the deaf to hear. However, this technology isn’t quite yet perfect, so it needs special care to stay functional. But that shouldn’t prevent one from pursuing sports or other forms of exercise.
Swimming with Cochlear Implants
Swimming and other activities that involve water are the primary concern for many cochlear implant wearers, especially when they need to listen to coaches or paying attention to other external stimuli. Competitive swimmers face a special challenge; they must rely on lipreading skills, directions that are written upon dry erase boards, or signals that are talked about beforehand, such as flags, strobes, different lighting, and so on. Talking about this kind of techniques while on dry land and establishing rules and signal designation beforehand can help clear up most issues.
You don’t have to take off the implant’s sound processor in order to enjoy some time in the pool. One of the most popular methods to do this is to cover the processor with an aLOKSAK electronics bag, and then tuck it underneath a Nammu swim hat.
Keeping Cochlear Implants Dry
If you get very sweaty while exercising, sweat-related moisture may become a concern for implant wearers. Sweatbands are a simple and effective solution. When one thinks of sweatband, an image of Richard Simmons’s headpiece might come to mind, but luckily, there are other options for very absorbent headbands that can keep cochlear implants dry.
There are some materials that don’t use any terrycloth or towel like materials, yet aren’t headache-tight, are anti-slip and wick moisture with a cooling effect. The high sweat trickle prevention also helps prevent damage to the cochlear implants. There are also other ways to avoid damage from penetration and moisture, including hearing aid covers that protect the amplifier and battery compartment of the cochlear implant. Cochlear’s Aqua Accessory should be enough to keep the processor dry against sweat and non-submersive activities that involve water.
Cochlear Implants and Static Noise
Outside of water, while working out, one can experience static noise and other damage to the cochlear implants due to sweat accumulation and moisture. The damage could occur before and during exercise. Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of damage to your cochlear implants due to static shocks by removing the cochlear implants before doing an activity that involves a treadmill, trampoline, or the foam pit in gymnastics.
What if it gets wet?
If your cochlear implant does get wet, it’s not the end of the world. Use some kind of desiccant, such as a dry kit or a drying and storing device. You can even place it in an airtight container full of dry rice can help wick moisture from the hearing aid right after a workout, as rice is a natural desiccant.
Other ways to protect your cochlear implants include using clips. Clips can be attached to the cochlear implants, if applicable, and also connected to clothing to protect damage from falls. Some individual locks hook on to the actual ear hood and help hold the cochlear implant on the ear. These can come in a discreet fashion and with more layers of security.
While some contact sports may have to be avoided to prevent damage to the implants themselves, most sports can be participated in with a bit of preventative care. If you are not sure about participating in a certain sport or activity with your implants, consulting your audiologist or ENT can help ensure the safety and efficacy of your equipment.