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.

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