A cochlear Implant actually has two parts: the internal part, which is the actual cochlear implant itself and an external part, known as the speech processor (or processor for short).
Therefore, the part that everyone sees is not the cochlear implant, but actually the processor itself, which sits behind the ear like a hearing aid.
Processors and Water:
Since the processor is an external device, many clients ask what happens if it rains... Will the processor be damaged if it gets wet? The answer is simple; the processor is splash proof and can withstand light rain showers. Just like any communication device, such as a mobile phone or radio, you don’t want to get it thoroughly wet...it won’t like it!!
So when you are showering, going for a bath or a swim, take the processor off. If you are caught in a rain shower, put the umbrella up, wear a hat, or put your rain coat hood up!
Processors and Exercise:
The good thing about the implant and the processor is you can participate in many of your sporting activities. One of our clients, Alden, is a keen mountain biker. As soon as he had his implant, Alden bought his protective head covering and new bike helmet to protect his processor and head... now he’s all ready to get back out on the tracks again!
Most hearing health professionals agree that the cochlear implant will not hold you back from participating in many activities, but do advise a sensible approach. For example, engaging in aggressive contact sports and boxing is not advisable, because of the risk of blows to the head.
Scuba divers have asked if they are able to dive with the implant. The processor is of course to come off, and the implant itself is validated to withstand pressure at a depth of 25 meters (82 feet), though there is no guarantee that issues may arise from prolonged exposure to underwater pressure. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you check with your surgeon before participating in a dive.
Processors and Batteries:
Batteries for the behind-the-ear model of processor typically last several days, but if you are in noisy environments your processor works harder and therefore requires more battery power. These processors use small high-powered zinc-air style batteries similar to those used in hearing aids.
For body worn processors, rechargeable or standard AA or AAA batteries are usually the norm pending on the model and brand you use. Your hearing health professional will be able to advise you on the longevity and battery type for your processor.
Processors and Microlink’s:
Microlink’s are actually a miniaturised Radio Aid (FM) system used by hearing aid and cochlear implant clients, which help enhance speech understanding, particularly in difficult hearing situations. The Microlink receiver directly attaches to your speech processor and is compatible with a range of transmitters produced by varying manufacturers.