Here are some tips to help you get more benefit from your cochlear implant. Each of the links (in bold text) opens in a new window. This information has been provided by our friends at Cochlear.
- Change your sound processor microphone protectors every three months or sooner if you live in a high humidity environment, perspire frequently or notice a change in sound quality.
- Thinking of upgrading your sound processor? It’s important to discuss this first with your hearing care professional.
- It’s good to know how to pair your sound processor with your wireless accessories.
- Don’t forget to insure your sound processor against loss or theft.
- Travelling with a Cochlear implant can be easy but it’s important to plan ahead. There are a few simple steps you can take with your device that will make your holiday or business trip stress free.
- Use your drying box and if travelling, use a small sealed plastic container with the dry brik inside.
- If eligible, keep your Australian Hearing card current for easy access to parts and repairs.
- Investigate the roll out of NDIS in your state – you may be eligible for financial support of your Cochlear implant through NDIS.
- Make sure you always have a spare cable, a spare coil and a spare battery on hand to troubleshoot your sound processor.
- Regularly inspect your Aqua+ waterproofing device, particularly after 20 uses to make sure it’s always in tip top condition
Q: Sometimes my hearing aid whistles when I first put it on in the morning – is this normal?
A: It is normal for a hearing aid to whistle when it is held in your hand, or if you turn it on before putting it in your ear, or if you cover it with your hand while it’s in the ear. Once it is placed in your ear properly and at your preferred volume setting, it should not whistle. If it continues to whistle this could be caused by a variety of factors. Some things that can cause feedback (whistling) include excessive earwax build-up, the earmould not sitting in ear properly, split tubing and increasing the volume of the hearing aid - so check these first. If none of these factors apply, you may need to go back to your hearing specialist for further advice and possibly a new earmould or reshell.
Q: I am suddenly hearing a lot of static or crackling. It is quite scary and loud.
A: This kind of sound usually does not come from inside the processor or the program, but is caused by a physical mechanism. The only moving part of your external processor is the coil cable, which is handled every single day, at least twice, morning and night. The plastic sheeting of the cord, which holds delicate wires connecting the processor with the transmitting coil can suffer wear and over time can tear the wires sending sound intermittently, causing a sensation of static or crackling.
Talking about 'static' .....please be careful over winter when our synthetic jackets and jumpers, combined with wind and our rubber soled shoes, result in more static electricity being stored on our bodies than usual. Although the processors and the implants have clever electrostatic barriers, a strong static discharge directly on the processor or coil/cable can corrupt (disrupt or erase) a program. Instruct your family to touch your shoulder before touching the processor, and always remove the processor before removing clothing over your head.
Q: I am told by a fellow implantee that he changes the Microphone Protection cover on his Nucleus/Freedom processor every month, is this necessary and why?
A: The first time I realised how important it is to keep the microphone protectors clean, happened when a recipient reported the following observation: "I think I'm going mad! When I walk towards my television the sound becomes softer, and when I walk away the sound becomes louder!". Well, a bit of detective work showed the microphone protector was the culprit.
Both the Freedom and Nucleus processors have two microphone entry ports - these are two tiny circles in a row (front and back). All the sound in the environment has to enter through these tiny spaces to be processed for listening. If the front microphone is blocked (with perspiration or dust which is easy as it is facing up towards your scalp and hair), and the back microphone is not blocked, the sound coming in from the front will be softer compared to the back - therefore explaining the "crazy" experience above.
Lesson: To avoid a trip to your audiologist to 'do something about the background noise' make sure you change the microphone cover once a month (white insert) or every three months (grey insert) so that you hear more speech and less background noise. If you are likely to forget this regular procedure then mark it in your calendar or diary.