Personal, Post-Activation

What It’s Like to Go Swimming With A Cochlear Implant PLUS AN EXCITING UPDATE

I recently blogged about my first impression of the AquaCase from Advanced Bionics. However, at the time I haven’t actually used it for swimming or water-related activities yet. That changed today.

Today was the perfect day to go swimming. Here in NJ we are in our first heat wave of the season. Today it was about 90 degrees, and from it being so hot all week long the water had plenty of time to warm up a bit. So my mom and I got our bathing suits on, slathered on the sunblock, packed our bags, and headed to the pool.


I’m pretty sure my mom was more excited about my ability to use the AquaCase and hear at the pool than I was…she’s the one that took this picture.

I didn’t wear my hearing aid to the pool like I normally would. I knew I’d have to take that off when I went in the pool anyway, and with the cochlear and the AquaCase, it didn’t seem necessary to go through all of that trouble. So I left that at home and just went with my cochlear in the AquaCase.

When I first got to the pool I just laid down in one of the chairs and read for a bit. I could hear all of the kids and other people’s conversations which was very exciting as it’s not something I can normally do. The real test of course would be once I went in the water.

After reading for 20 minutes or so, I headed to the water. I started off like I always do by just putting my feet into the water to get a feel for the temperature and to get my body used to it. For the first time ever my mom jumped in well before me. I’ll admit I was nervous. I was nervous of the cochlear falling off and the case not working right and the cochlear falling off, getting wet, and breaking. Then my mom splashed me and made sure to hit my cochlear so I knew it was fine lol. I was still a bit nervous though so I walked around and went down there stairs in the pool rather than simply jumping in.


I was very excited about going swimming with my cochlear, but also quite nervous.

I think a lot of my nerves stemmed from all of the years where I had to be extremely careful with my hearing aids. My hearing aids definitely have never been made water proof. I have had quite a few problems with that over the years. I still have very vivid memories of destroying one of my hearing aids during a class field trip to Hershey Park in 8th grade. I tried to be so careful with my hearing aids on that trip and was doing well until we all decided to go on the log stream. We weren’t supposed to get wet on that ride — or so they said. We ended up getting completely drenched and my hearing aid definitely didn’t make it out so well. Another more recent time I was walking around town and it started to down pour. I got caught in the rain, and my hearing aid started to cut out on me. Luckily, I was able to save it that time by wiping it down, shaking water out, and using a blow dryer on it for a couple of seconds. But it just goes to show you how even a little bit of water can be completely destructive to hearing aids. I didn’t want to have the same experience with my cochlear. That’a for sure.

Once I finally overcame my nerves and really went in the pool I was able to enjoy myself. It was really neat being able to hear all of the kids, especially the little ones, as I definitely couldn’t have done this before. I always struggled to hear little kids because their voices are so high and out of my range. In the pool in the past without my hearing aids or cochlear I couldn’t hear much of anything, really.

Hearing the water was cool too. It sounded a lot louder and a bit deeper of a tone that I thought it did. I could usually vaguely hear splashing if someone jumped in or did a cannonball in the pool, but smaller splashes such as those caused by people splashing their hands in the pool I couldn’t usually hear. I could hear all of that well today.

The best part was definitely being able to hold a conversation with my mom in the pool. Yes, I did lipread a little. As I previously stated, lipreading comes naturally to me and is a habit that I don’t intend to break anytime soon.But I definitely wasn’t dependent on it. I couldn’t be. I always take my glasses off when I see so I couldn’t exactly see very well lol.

Yesterday my boyfriend and I celebrated 9 months together and had a really nice night together. I was talking to my mom all about that. My boyfriend and I are planning a 3-day trip for our 1 year anniversary so I was talking to her a bit about that too and the things we want to do and figuring out the expenses. I was kind of rambling on and on (I do that a lot when it comes to talking about my boyfriend — it’s what happens when you really love someone) so my mom cut me off and said “look at you being all talkative in the pool!” She was so excited for me. I don’t usually talk that much in the pool because naturally it’s kind of hard to talk and have a conversation when you can’t hear anything.

I definitely enjoyed the Aquacase more today and was very happy to have it. It still isn’t nearly as clear as my regular processor is, but it’s getting a little bit better. I think that I will always prefer to use my cochlear without the AquaCase, but I’m definitely still seeing some of the benefits of the AquaCase and I know the more I use it the more I will get used to it and like it. I do still feel that I need another magnet. That’s the only thing that got a little bit annoying. My headpiece came off a couple of times. The headpiece is thicker on the AquaCase than the non-water proof one for the regular processor so I think that’ why it needs more magnets than the other one does. Definitely not a big deal though. I’m also getting much better at switching the mikes and setting up the Aquacase which is great. I can easily switch back and forth when I need to.

Having the AquaCase is definitely going to come in handy this summer when I go to the pool with it. Now the next thing on my bucketlist is to go to the beach with my cochlear! I’d love to hear how the ocean sounds and try swimming in the ocean with it on!

Now for the update (that I totally almost forgot about and actually had to go back and edit this post to include…). I have begun the process of writing my book based on my cochlear implant experience. Like, actually writing it from the beginning as opposed to just blogging about it. I got a good 1100 words in so far today. The beginning seems a little shaky and I’m sure it will be the hardest part of writing my book, but it’s a start. A lot of what makes it hard is that I’m recalling what it was like when it was first discovered I have hearing loss and how I dealt with it as a toddler. I don’t remember anything about being 2 and very little about being like 3-5 years old, so that is making it hard. But a lot of this is backstory that will more than likely be edited out of my final draft anyway. The important thing is that I am writing. It’s a start and I’m very confident there will be a beautiful ending to it a few months down the road.

It starts here

Every story has to start somewhere…

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