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

Troubleshooting Neptune Processor Water Leak | Battery Compartment

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.  

Please read our story Troubleshooting Cochlear Implant | Processor Will Not Turn On if you find rust in battery compartment after water use.

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