Swimming with Cochlear Implants, My Son Heard Me in the Surf
By Eric Sherman
For many people who are hard of hearing or deaf (DHH), swimming is a great activity. There are real advantages for a person who is deaf. Swimming helps strengthen muscles, it is an aerobic exercise, and it is a fun activity on a hot summer day.
Although, swimming has its advantages for DHH individuals, it also can be scary and quite dangerous.
Our son, who is deaf, loves swimming in the ocean, but I found myself in the water for hours making sure he is safe. It was exhausting and frightening trying to keep him from drifting too far down the beach, getting caught up in the current, or stuck in large sets of waves.
Thankfully, he wears waterproof bilateral cochlear implant processors and can hear instructions about where to swim and when to come in, etc. His processors worked so well, he responded to his name and listened to instructions from at least 40 yards away in the surf. Instead of me having to swim with him, I was able to watch him from the shore.
Swimming with cochlear implants has been extremely helpful in keeping our son water safe! It also enables us to do more water sports, like surfing and body boarding. We do check his devices periodically to make sure they are on and working. Sound quality is not a concern as long as he can hear his name and follow instructions.
Most cochlear implant manufactures offer a water configuration for their devices. Our son wears Advanced Bionics’ Neptune processors when swimming and uses the Ci Wear swim shirt to secure and help protect them. Ci Wear shirts are patented for hearing devices such as cochlear implants.
While swimming it’s important for individuals to be able to hear lifeguards, other people, oncoming boats, or personal watercraft. Without the ability to hear, we would probably limit our son’s swimming activities.
Swimming is a great activity for the deaf, swimming with cochlear plants adds a level of safety for them. If you haven’t gone in the water with your water configured cochlear implants yet, try them in a pool first to get use to them before heading out to the beach or a lake.
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