Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Do Insurance Companies Determine Unreasonable Rates For Cochlear Implant Equipment?

By Eric Sherman

When your cochlear implant equipment is out of manufacturer’s warranty period and you need a new sound cable, headpiece (coil) or processor, often people will go through their health insurance to help cover part of the cost.  Not all health insurance is the same, so be aware as your insurance company might reimburse you for less than you expect. This was the case with us when we purchased a CI sound cable for $125.00 and the insurance reimbursed us $5.81, less than 10% of the cost.
 
Cochlear Implant Sound Cord
After receiving our reimbursement check and Explanation of Benefits (EOB), we noticed the “Allowable Amount” (the amount the insurance company will pay for service or medical equipment) was substantially less than the cost of the equipment ($125.00 compared to their allowable amount of $11.62).

When inquiring about the allowable amount and how it was derived, the insurance company’s own definitions, terminologies and explanation were as confusing, ambiguous and misleading as credit card offers you receive in the mail.  Under “medical supplies, equipment and footwear benefits” in our plan it stated our responsibility is “all charges in excess of 50% of the Negotiated Fee Rates,” for non-participating providers.  The negotiated fee rate is the rate negotiated for in-network providers and is synonymous with “allowable amounts.”   Our implant manufacturer is not a participating provider, but we received an in-network provider waiver, meaning we would receive the in-network rate (60% coverage based on our plan).

Here is the problem with cochlear implant equipment; it is proprietary to each manufacturer’s device.  Parts cannot be mixed and matched between manufacturers.  Finding a compatible sound cable at the cost of $11.62 is not possible.  In our grievance filed with state regulators, we argued this point and requested the insurance company explain their methodology in how they derived at $11.36, in this instance, to determine their allowable amount.

Based on the definition outlined in our policy, we reasonably believed that the insurance company would cover 60% of the cost of the sound cord.  The insurance company responded to our inquiry and grievance describing five different methods of determining allowable amounts and none of it made sense in relationship to our claim. In some instances, their explanation directly contradicted what was outlined in our policy.  Eventually, the insurance company claimed the amount was determined by a “customary and reasonable rate of reimbursement and not at billed charges.”

A "customary and reasonable" is a term used by insurance companies to cap their exposure on certain medical equipment and procedures. Paying less than 10% of the billed amount didn’t seem to be reasonable.   The insurance company refused to divulge the methodology used to determine what was customary and reasonable and thus settled on the rate of $11.62.  Under this terminology, insurance companies decide the rate they will pay. 

In the end, state regulators didn’t have the legal authority to compel the insurance company to reveal how they came up with their rates. An adjustment was made to our claim and the rationale behind the adjustment was equally confusing.  We were reimbursed more on our claim, but the amount was substantially less than what was billed.  

Clearly, the power in the health care industry lies with the insurance companies and not the consumer. Right now is open enrollment for health care insurance (it’s the law, you must have health insurance).  If you are looking for a new health care plan, you may want to contact the insurance provider you’re considering to find out their coverage on your cochlear implant equipment.  (Here are links to billing codes for different cochlear implant manufacturers Advanced Bionics, Cochlear, Med El).

Final thought, be an informed voter when it comes to your health care.  Avoid the temptation of negative ads and political bias.  Unfortunately, in our state, the voters missed an opportunity to gain more control over their health care.  The insurance companies ran a huge negative ad campaign with no opposition which helped defeat a health care proposition.  The bill would have helped make health care costs more transparent.

More about Ci Wear
Ci Wear is a patent pending shirt designed for cochlear implant processors and other listening device.  Use as an exercise shirt, rash guard or swim shirt during sports activities. The shirts have pockets that add a layer of security to your device. Made in the USA and sells direct to consumers via online store.  Shop at www.Ciwear.com. 


If you like our stories feel free to Subscribe to our blog and share with others. Do you have a story you would like to share? If so, send it to us.  We just might use your story on our next blog.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Trampolines - Great Way to Address Sensory Seeking Behaviors

By Eric Sherman


As a follow-up to my story about the lycra swing being a great way to address spinning behaviors, I wanted to share how the trampoline is another great way to address other sensory seeking behaviors.  In addition to our child spinning in circles, he also liked jumping.  When our son was a toddler he would jump off anything he could climb on, such as a bed, other furniture and climbing apparatuses at the park.   One day, he used his dresser drawers to climb on top of the dresser.  When preparing to jump off, the weight of my son along with the open drawers tilted the dresser forward, partially yanking the anchors out of the wall.  Thankfully the dresser was anchored or our son might have been seriously injured.  Our son’s jumping behavior was not only dangerous, but it was damaging our home.

Jumping is a fun activity for children and it helps them learn about coordination and movement.  Our son’s jumping
issue was a sensory seeking behavior that needed to be satisfied.  

We addressed this behavior in occupational therapy (OT) and it helped. Our son learned how to control himself when he was on high objects and how to climb off them, instead of jumping.  The OT also introduced our son to the trampoline.  Our son loved jumping on the trampoline.  It was a great motivating tool during therapy sessions, but once he got home the beds in the house took a beating.

Clearly we needed a trampoline of our own.  We purchased an 8’ trampoline with safety netting and put it up in the backyard.  It worked great!  We found that after jumping on the trampoline, for at least 10 minutes, our son became calmer and more focused.  Also, he stopped using our beds as a jumping apparatus.

Since the purchase of our first trampoline 7 years ago, both of our sons jump on it daily.  Trampolines are not only good for children with sensory seeking behaviors, but a great form of aerobic exercise.  If you are looking for a gift the entire family will enjoy consider a trampoline.  

If you have a solution for a sensory seeking behavior, please share with us.

More about Ci Wear
Ci Wear is a patent pending shirt designed to add a layer of protection for cochlear implant processors and other listening device.  Use as an exercise shirt, rash guard or swim shirt during sports activities. Shirts are Made in the USA and sell direct to consumers via online store.  For extra savings use voucher code holiday15 or IntlHoliday15 (expires 12/31/15) at www.Ciwear.com . 

#cochlearimplants #trampolines #sensory #swim #shirts

Saturday, October 17, 2015

How Listening To Our Gut & Not Our Doctor…Helped Diagnose Our Son’s Hearing Loss

By Eric Sherman

As a general rule, we listen and trust our doctors when it comes to our health.  Why shouldn’t we, they went to medical school, spent years of their life training to be a doctor and they take a Hippocratic Oath.  But, doctors are people too.  They aren’t perfect and if your gut is telling you one thing and your doctor is telling you another, there are times you might just need to listen to your gut. 

It might sound cliché when someone says, “what is your gut telling you?” in our case, it helped diagnose our son’s hearing loss at an early age.

As with most parents, especially those with newborns or small children, anytime something seemed wrong with our child (i.e. runny nose, yellow poop, excessive crying, bright red ears, etc.), we called our pediatrician.  In most cases, our pediatrician addressed our son’s health issues, except the one time when we raised the issue about his hearing.

When our son was around six months of age, he seemed to be getting a lot of ear infections.  He wasn’t at the point of needing tubes, but it was a health issue.  Anyway, my wife and I went on a vacation and the grandparents watched our kids.

When we returned home, the grandparents raised a concern that our son didn’t seem to be hearing.  We thought this couldn’t be right as he had passed his newborn hearing test.  The grandparents did some simple tests (e.g. banging pots, slamming doors and clapping) to show us why they felt our son wasn’t hearing.  Admittedly, my son didn’t respond to those stimuli which seemed odd, but to other similar stimuli his behavior seemed normal.

After a few days and a lot of anxiety over whether our son had a hearing problem or not, we called our pediatrician.  We shared our concerns, expressed what the grandparents observed and asked about a hearing test.  His response was, “the grandparents are just a bunch of worry warts. I saw your son a couple of weeks ago, he had an ear infection and now he’s fine. I don’t need to see you again.”  Our gut told us otherwise. 

Feeling very uneasy and confused by the doctor’s flippant attitude regarding our concerns, we decided to find an audiologist who would do a hearing test on our son.  Generally for a six-month-old you would have an auditory brainstem response (ABR) test done to test hearing. After our conversation with our doctor, he didn’t seem interested in writing a prescription for an ABR test. We found an audiologist who ran some tests in a sound booth.  After about a ½ hour of testing, the audiologist turns to me and said, “I’m seeing enough red flags here to warrant an ABR test.”  The audiologist agreed to call our pediatrician to share her observation and recommendation.  Luckily, our pediatrician was out of town and the audiologist spoke to the “on call” doctor who wrote a prescription for an ABR test at a local hospital. 

The ABR results confirmed that our son had profound to severe hearing loss.  When our pediatrician received the report, he was in total denial and wanted us to have another ABR test done but this time at UCLA medical center.  Again, results found profound to severe hearing loss.

Our pediatrician’s response to our son’s hearing loss, “I guess we sometimes have to listen to the grandparents.”  No apologies for dismissing our concerns. He didn’t talk about next steps or options for us. Nothing!

This epic failure and lack of professionalism could have set our son back months if not years with developmental delays.  Luckily, we have family and friends in the medical field that provided help and guidance that allowed us to take matters into our own hands.   Our son now has bilateral cochlear implants and hears great.

The unfortunate thing about our story is that it is one of too many where doctors have dismissed a parent’s concern or another professional’s opinion (i.e. school audiologist or teacher) regarding hearing issues.

In the end, you should always follow your doctor’s instructions. But if your concerns are not being addressed or if you have a feeling in your gut that something is just not right, don’t be afraid to seek another opinion.  The more information you have the better decisions you can make regarding your heath.

BTW, we found a new pediatrician!


                                                                                                                                                                     
Ci Wear is a wearing option for your cochlear implant (CI) and other listening devices designed to add a layer of protection and comfort when participating in physical activities such as swimming, rock climbing, surfing, etc. Use as a rash guard, swim shirt or an exercise shirt. 
                                                                                                                                                                   

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lycra Swing – A Great Way to Address A Child’s Spinning Behavior

By Eric Sherman

Shortly after my son received his first cochlear implant and started to become mobile, we noticed he enjoyed spinning in circles.  He would look up at the ceiling and spin in circles, laughing.  Spinning is fun for children and it also helps them learn body control, balance and focus.  Our problem was our son was constantly spinning to clearly satisfy a sensory need, it didn't seem like a game or casual fun for him.

Our pediatrician thought our son’s spinning and other sensory seeking issues may be related to his profound hearing loss and recommended we see an occupational therapist (OT).  Our OT worked on body awareness, coordination, balance, focus and control and it all helped, but our son’s spinning motion seeking behavior continued.  This not only became a problem for him throughout the day, but an issue at night.  Our son was very restless when we tried to put him to bed.

We had a backyard swing but that was not satisfying our son’s sensory needs either.  One day, while at OT with my son, I began to look around at all the apparatus and equipment they had and found my son really liked to be bounced around in this lycra hammock.  The OT would use it either as a reward to get my son to finish a task or to refocus his attention.  I quickly realized this is something I could make at home. 

I went out and purchased a large piece of nylon/lycra fabric and tied it to a carabineer which I attached to a swivel hook (items we picked up at REI and a local hardware store) and hung from a beam in our living room.  The whole set up cost me about $80 which was a lot cheaper than anything you can find in a therapy product catalog.  The fabric hung down little more than half way to the floor. Once my son was inside, his weight would pull him down to about 18-24 inches off the ground.  Everything was measured out so he wouldn’t hit the walls or the ground when swinging.

The lycra swing worked great! It gave our son a real snug feeling, while enabling us to push him in tight fast or large slow circles helping provide the sensory input he was seeking.  Our son became calmer, less fidgety and more focused.  His daily need to spin himself dramatically diminished.  At bedtime, the swing helped settle his body down allowing him to fall asleep much easier.

OT really helped our son, but it was the lycra swing that got us through the day and down for the night.  If you developed something to help address a family member’s sensory seeking needs, please share.  Hopefully, it may help someone else.

#lycraswing #cochlearimplants #autism #ciwear
                                                                                                                                                                                     
Ci Wear is a shirt designed to add a layer of protection and comfort when wearing cochlear implant (CI) processors and other listening devices. Use as a rashguard, swim shirt or an exercise shirt. Flash Sale use voucher code TAKE10. Expires 9/21/15

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Making Your Rechargeable Batteries Last Longer For Your Cochlear Implant

By Eric Sherman


One of the best benefits of my sons newer cochlear implant processor (he received several years ago) was that it uses a AAA battery to power it.  No longer did we have to depend on a proprietary battery and charger.  We could pick up either 1000 milliamp hours (mAh), Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) rechargeable, or alkaline batteries at any store and it would power the processor. Although using a rechargeable battery was more expensive, it made more economic sense to use on a daily basis than burning through alkaline batteries. 

Rechargeable batteries should last up to 1000 charges.  We don’t really keep track of how many times we charge our AAA batteries, but we went from replacing batteries every few months to maybe once a year… if not longer.  
Smart Charger

We extend the life of our rechargeable batteries by investing in a smart charger.

A smart charger is designed to protect and prevent from over-charging your batteries.  If your batteries feel very warm or hot when pulling them out of the charger, it’s likely you’re not using a smart charger and over-charging and shortening their life span.

The smart charger we purchased allows us to charge, discharge, refresh, and test the batteries. The batteries definitely don’t feel warm after charging.  In addition to extending the life of the batteries, we found that when a battery tests below 700 mAh on our smart charger, it will only power our son’s processor for a short length of time… which is less than a day, randomly shutting off the processor before signaling a low battery.  In general we refresh our batteries with the smart charger, which is a process of discharging and recharging several times.  We do this especially if the battery tests below 800 mAh.  This assures that our son’s processor will be powered throughout the day.  If we can't refresh the batteries back to 900 to 1000 mAh, we will no longer use them in the cochlear implant processor.

Also, not all rechargeable batteries are the same.  Do a little bit of homework before you buy.  We found some batteries lasted longer than others.  Also, we found it best to charge a new NiMH rechargeable battery before using it. These batteries will self-discharge, so who knows how long they have sat in some warehouse or on a store shelf.   There are many resources on the internet; Michael Bluejay (http://michaelbluejay.com/batteries/) put together a battery guide on his blog that you may find helpful.

If you have battery or charger suggestions, please share your comments.  Lastly, remember to recycle old batteries.  

#cochlearimplant #ciwear #CIbattery 

Receive 20% off on a Ci Wear Shirt – Send us content for our “Ci Wear News Splash” blog,  If we use your content, we will credit you 20% on your next purchase.  Send your materials to us at contactus@ciwear.com. Subject: Blog

Sunday, August 23, 2015

USE OF COCHLEAR IMPLANTS ‒ IMPORTANT FOR WATER SAFETY

By Eric Sherman


This summer has been extremely hot and my son won’t get out of the water.  For many people, swimming is a fun and refreshing activity…especially when it’s hot. For parents, (like us), with a child who is profoundly deaf, swimming can be quite challenging, nerve racking and scary.

When trying to beat the heat, we head to the beach and my son loves to swim in the ocean looking for fish.  He will chase them by diving through waves and swimming away from the shore. I often find myself in the water for hours making sure he is safe.  It is exhausting and frightening trying to keep him from drifting to far down the beach and/or getting caught up in the current or swimming into 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.  This 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.  

If you’re having problems getting your child to wear their CI device in the water because of sound quality, comfort or wearing configuration options… then try to find solutions that will help make them comfortable in the water with their device.  It’s a safety issue more than anything else. It’s important for your child to be able to hear lifeguards, other people, oncoming boats or personal watercrafts and especially you.  When my son was swimming looking at fish, he was drifting to far from me; I yelled his name, his head popped up out of the water. I told him to swim back towards me and he did.  Without the ability to hear, we would probably limit his swimming activities.  Swimming is therapeutic for our son, so this would not be a good thing.

In our house, we make wearing cochlear implant processors mandatory in the water like wearing sun block.  Most cochlear implant manufactures offer a water configuration for their devices.  In time your child will get use to and understand any sound differences in the water, but make sure they are comfortable.  In the long run, your child needs to hear to be safer and will likely they will have a more enjoyable experience.  


#waterproof #beach #cochlearimplant #watersafe #swim 


                                                                                                                                                  
Ci Wear is a CI shirt designed with pockets for cochlear implant (CI) processors and other listening devices. Use as a rashguard, swim shirt or an exercise apparel. Shop now at www.ciwear.com

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Shirt Designed for Cochlear Implants is Helping to Fight Cancer

First shirt sewed by Aileen that led to the birth of Ci Wear
Earlier this year Ci Wear sadly lost a valuable member of its team to cancer.  Aileen Sherman was the impetus behind getting Ci Wear started.  She took the idea for a specialty shirt with pockets and made into reality by sewing the first prototype shirt. Aileen saw the potential on how altering a swim shirt could not only help her grandson, but many others like him, who wore waterproof cochlear implant devices.  The shirt she made was crude in its looks, but it proved the concept that the shirt would work.  Thus, Ci Wear was born. 

In Aileen’s honor, we will donate $5.00 for every shirt purchased between now and the end of September to the Aileen Sherman Memorial Fund to raise money for cancer research. As of 2014, 14.5 million people have a history of cancer.  In 2015, about 589,430 Americans are expected to die of cancer, or about 1,620 people per day. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease, and accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths according to American Cancer Society.

Regardless of whether you purchase a Ci Wear shirt, we ask that you donate to the Aileen Sherman Memorial Fund.  A contribution of any size helps. It's our hope we can find a cure for this horrible disease that indiscriminately afflicts so many people.  The fund is partnered with Kure It Cancer Research, a 501c3 non-profit organization, so your contributions are tax deductible.  To learn more about Aileen and to donate to help finding cures for cancer please visit https://www.crowdrise.com/AileenShermanMemorialFund.

Please share this blog with others. 
Thank you!

#KureIt #fightcancer #AileenS

Thursday, July 30, 2015

WHAT WE FEAR OTHER THAN SHARKS AT THE BEACH

By Eric Sherman
























As parents with a child who is deaf with bilateral cochlear implants, a day at the beach use to be very challenging. 

Our son loves the water.  Regardless of water temperature, he runs out into the ocean with his goggles looking for fish. He has no concerns about the waves, rip tides or under currents that could sweep him out to sea.  With limited ability to communicate, we would have to endure cold water temperatures and pounding waves, corralling our son to keep him safe.  We feared going to the beach.

Now our son wears waterproof processors from Advanced Bionics, and it’s a new day at the beach.  We can better communicate with our son out in the water, letting him know where he can swim and how to stay safe.  He is now not only swimming looking for fish, he is body surfing, boogie boarding, and even surfing.

As parents, your child’s safety in the water is always a primary concern, but when your child wears cochlear implant processors you also fear the potential loss or damage to these expensive hearing devices in the ocean.  We didn’t want to limit our son’s experience in the water because of our fears, so he wears a Ci Wear shirt.

Ci Wear allows us to integrate the CI sound processor into the shirt, providing an added layer of protection, from the elements, for the device(s) and sound cord(s).  Our son has been knocked around pretty hard in the waves and the processors stay clipped inside the pockets and the shirt’s special collar loops have helped him rapidly locate his headpiece before the next wave hits. 

It’s truly a new day and experience for our family at the beach.  We focus on fun and not on our son’s equipment. Ci Wear comes in a variety of youth and adult sizes and colors.  

www.ciwear.com #waterproof #beach #cochlearimplant #shark #surf #ciwear

Sunday, July 12, 2015

NEED A WEARING OPTION FOR YOUR SMARTPHONE AND/OR DIGITAL MUSIC PLAYER WHILE WORKING OUT?

Do you find it difficult exercising with your smartphone or digital music player (i.e. iPod Touch, Shuffle or Nano), because there are no comfortable options to hold your device? If you find armbands are uncomfortable, dangle cords get in your way, broken phone from falling out of your hand or your device is flopping around in your pant pockets … Ci Wear Sport is the wearing option that solves these problems.


Ci Wear Sport is an active wear shirt with a patent pending design that integrates your listening device snuggly into the shirt, with features that add a layer of protection giving you confidence and freedom of movement as you workout or exercise.  The shirt is made of high performance premium quality wicking active mesh fabric for moisture management keeping your skin cool and dry.

Once your phone or listening device is inserted into the Ci Wear Sport pockets, you never have to pull it out to answer the phone, to skip, pause, replay a song or change the volume while working out.  You can control everything from your earbuds.  Here are 10 Hidden Controls ofthe iPhone Headphones by Sharon Profis posted on CNET.


  1. If you're listening to music, toggle pause or play by tapping the center button once.
  2. To fast-forward a song, tap the center button twice and long-press on the second tap.
  3. To rewind a song, tap three times and long-press on the third tap.
  4. To skip a song, double tap.
  5. To go to the previous song, triple tap.
  6. If you have an incoming call, tap the center button once to answer. Tap again to hang up.
  7. To ignore an incoming call, long-press the center button. You'll hear two beeps to confirm that the caller was sent to voice mail.
  8. If you're on the phone and you get a new call, tap the center button once to switch calls. To end that new call, hold the center button down for 2 seconds.
  9. You can achieve super steady shots by using your headphones as a shutter release. Tap the volume-up button to capture a photo.
  10. Prompt Siri by long-pressing the center button.

Your earbuds or any headphones with mic and controller will likely control your device. Visit www.ciwear.com to learn more about how our Ci Wear Sport shirt can keep you connected and comfortable when working out.


#running #Apple #smartphones #earbuds #exercise #headphones #fitness #mountainbiking 

Welcome to Ci Wear Blog

Our son Cole, who has bilateral cochlear implants, was the inspiration behind Ci Wear Cole loves swimming and we were excited when he received his new waterproof sound processors. As we watched him in the water, we noticed he spent a lot of time attending to his processors and headpieces, instead of playing. We wondered if there was a way of minimizing the issues he was having. After extensive research and testing, we developed the Ci Wear shirt. The Ci Wear shirt integrated his sound processors right into his clothing and simplified his experience in the water. He no longer had to worry about loose cords and processors sliding down his arm.  He was able to focus on what was important - playing! The Ci Wear shirt also has the added benefits of being stylish, making the sound processors less apparent, and providing sun protection. We hope the Ci Wear shirt provides you the same improved experience during activities as it has given our son.



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

WHY IS MY COCHLEAR IMPLANT SOUND PROCESSOR NOT WORKING?

By Eric Sherman


Have you ever encountered your sound processor randomly shutting off, constantly flashing red and beeping or just turning red with a constant beep when powering on?   These indicators may mislead you into believing your processors are failing ... when in fact, it could be something as simple as a battery, headpiece or cord problem.

As a parent of a child with cochlear implants, we often found ourselves replacing the processors when it wasn't always necessary.  Here are some simple troubleshooting tips you can try prior to contacting your audiologist or CI manufacturer to replace your processor.

First, always check your headpiece and sound cord. We found with our son’s CI processor that the intermittent beeping was caused more often than not, by a bad sound cord. With the headpiece on his head, we tested this out by just jiggling the cord to see if that caused the processor to beep.  If so, we replaced it with a new sound cord which usually resolved the problem.

Why is my cochlear implant sound processor not working?On other occasions, we found our son’s processor constantly beeping and flashing red while the headpiece was on his head.  This could mean the headpiece doesn’t have a good connection with the implant.  The easiest way to test for this problem is by switching out the headpiece to see if that resolves the problem.

We have also experienced our son’s processor randomly shutting off and other times the power light turned red with a long continuous beep or flashed red several times before shutting off.  After going through the aforementioned troubleshooting procedures, we thought something was wrong with the processor. However; after replacing the old rechargeable batteries with new ones, the processors began to work. Sometimes when a rechargeable battery is showing it’s charged, we think it is good to use, but this is not always the case. Over time rechargeable batteries will lose their ability to power your cochlear implant processor, even though the charger shows the batteries are fully charged and ready to use. 

When it comes to issues with cochlear implant processors not working properly, try checking the following items first as it may save you time and expense.
  • Batteries
  • Sound Cord
  • Headpiece
If you have experienced similar problems or other issues with your CI processors, we invite you to share them.

#cochlearimplants
                                                                                                                                                  
Ci Wear is a CI shirt designed with pockets for cochlear implant (CI) processors and other listening devices. Use as a rashguard, swim shirt or an exercise shirt. For more information visit www.ciwear.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Signs That The Cochlear Implant Headpiece Magnet Strength Is Too Strong

By Eric Sherman 

As a follow-up to my last blog post, “What is the Right Magnet Strength for My Cochlear Implant Headpiece?” I wrote how finding the right magnet strength is a trial and error process.  Unfortunately, the error part of the process can cause problems that can prevent you or your child from wearing your processor for a period of time.   
As parents, we need to look for signs our child’s headpiece magnet may be too strong before there’s an obvious problem, especially if your child is nonverbal. 
Here’s what happened after we accidentally got my son’s headpieces mixed up and put the wrong magnet strength on the wrong side of his head.  After a day, his head became red and itchy. 
Skin irritation cause by CI headpieceMy son didn’t say anything, nor did he complain.  As you can see from the photo, the skin is clearly irritated.  If not addressed, this skin irritation might have led to an open sore…keeping my son from wearing his processor.  We changed the magnet strength and left his headpiece off for the night and fortunately the next morning the skin looked much better. 

Here are some signs we discovered when the magnet strength was too strong; skin irritation such as redness, swelling, tenderness at the connection point on the head; behaviors like scratching, rubbing or frequent removal of headpiece.  If you start to see scabbing at the connection point, you should definitively consider removing the headpiece for a while until the skin heals.  Consult your audiologist about adjustments to the magnet strength.  
Also please note that if there are no noticeable skin irritations and your child is having issues wearing his/her headpiece, it could be an indication that other possible problems exist. Troubleshoot your CI equipment and check with your audiologist about the sound processor and map.  When our son was around 24 months old, he wouldn’t wear his headpiece.  He would deliberately swipe it off his head, clearly indicating he didn’t want it on.  After examining all the equipment, magnet strength, etc., we made an appointment with the audiologist, who found a problem with the map which caused the over stimulation.  
If you have had an experience with your cochlear implant headpiece and found other signs that you feel will help other CI recipients and their families, we invite you to share them here.

#cochlearimplant #Cishirt #CI #ciwear #parents #children #bionicbabies 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Determining the Right Magnet Strength for My Cochlear Implant Headpiece?

By Eric Sherman

Finding the correct magnet strength for each person is different. Our son is bilaterally implanted, very active, and it always seems his headpieces are coming off when he is playing. We started using just two magnets that came in the universal headpiece, but that didn’t seem to work on one side of his head. We added one more magnet to make it three on the one side, and that was a mistake.

The connection point on his head began to turn red. Our son wasn’t really complaining that much so we left it alone. Well, over a period of time, he began to develop a sore on his head at the connection point. The magnet strength was to strong. This was not good. We ended up having to take the processor off until his head healed. Not the smartest thing to do to your child, especially during the school year.

Still having a magnet strength issue on the one side of our son’s head, we tried folding very small layers of paper on the bottom of the battery well of the headpiece to move the 3 magnets away from the connection point. The papers worked, but the magnets were still too strong and it still caused the connection point on our son’s head to turn red and tender.


We learned that the little foam spacer that comes with the AB headpieces (UHP and AquaMic) can be placed in between the magnets. For the longest time, we thought the spacer just went on top of the magnets. Our audiologist suggested we insert two magnets then the foam spacer and add another magnet on top (see picture). This seemed to be the right combination for our son. He had fewer problems with the magnet coming off and it didn’t irritate his head.

When swimming with the AB AquaMic, we place 4 magnets in both headpieces. This seems to help keep the headpieces on better with all the jumping in and out of the water. Using goggles and a Ci Wear shirt also helps with easy location and rapid placement if the AquaMic becomes dislodged from the head.

When using increased magnets strengths during swimming or other sports activities where the headpiece is prone to come off was for short periods of time. Monitoring the connection point on the head is important to make sure the magnet is not generating any skin irritations. After using increased magnet strength for your activity, definitely go back to your daily magnet strength. If the connection site on the head is irritated, you may want to consider giving the sore side a break from wearing the headpiece. Consider using a different magnet strength next time.

Determining magnet strength is a trial and error process. Don’t do what we did and a leave on until a sore appears. A red and irritated looking site is a good indication the magnet strength is to strong.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Things I Discovered with My Son's CI Sound Processors - Battery Cap

Things I Discovered with My Son's CI Sound Processor

Battery Cap

By Eric Sherman


My son uses an Advanced Bionics Neptune sound processors daily.  We have a white battery cap for the left side, and red battery cap for the right.  This was the easiest way for us to know which processor was programmed for which side of the head. 

We found over time water leaked into the battery compartment, and the battery would begin to rust.  This was very concerning to us.  We thought how could the seal start breaking down so quickly?  What we discovered was the battery cap was cracked.  

We found the cap had developed a micro crack on the end.  You could only see it when you pulled outward on the sides of the cap (pictured). The crack most likely developed over time from daily use, and from attaching the processor clip. 

We decided to replace the daily use caps with new caps dedicated just for swimming. We picked a different color not to mix up the caps.  Ever since we started changing caps for swimming, we have not had any problems with water leaks.

If you find water getting into your battery compartment, check for small cracks and make sure the gasket around the processor is free of debris.  Also, consider using different caps when swimming if you use the Neptune processor for everyday use.  

What have you discovered with your processors? Share your experiences; we’d love to hear them.



#CiWear is a shirt with pockets designed for #cochlear implant (CI) processors and other listening devices. Use as a rash guard, #swim shirt or an exercise shirt.