Ci Wear Shirt Review

Terrie Kellmeyer

The recently released Ci Wear shirt is a welcome addition to our cochlear implant repertoire.  We are a family of five, and two of our three children wear Advanced Bionics cochlear implants.  Our nine year old son wears the Naída CI Q70 processors and our three year old daughter wears the Neptune processors as their go-to processors.  However, whenever my son participates in sports, he always wears his Neptune processors.

Our family is very active and involved in many sports and outdoor activities.  We live near the ocean, so beach time and swimming are a big part of our daily lives.  We’ve struggled for many years to come up with a good way to wear the cochlear implant processors at the beach.  Prior to the release of the waterproof Neptune processors, we tried Ziploc bags and fanny packs, modified Otter box containers, and many different homemade pocket shirts to hold the CI processors.  We were ecstatic when the waterproof Neptune processor was released, but still struggled to find the right wearing option that worked for our family during water activities.  I again tried sewing my own pocket shirts for the beach to hold the Neptune processors, but wasn’t able to make a shirt where it wasn’t obvious there was a CI processor attached, and couldn’t find a way to keep the cords from becoming tangled.  At a routine visit to our audiologist I was shown a prototype of the new Ci Wear shirt. At first glance it seemed like the perfect solution for wearing the CI processors at the beach.  I was excited to try it out and see if it really worked as well as I thought it would.

We were sent home with a prototype shirt to try out.  The shirt looks and feels like a high-quality rash guard shirt and is well-made.  The shirt is very well designed with pockets on each sleeve where the processor can be inserted.  There is an elastic band in the pocket where the processor can be clipped for added security.  Inside the back of the pocket there is a small hole to thread the cord through, and another loop inside the neckline to thread the cord through which helps keep the cords nicely in place and prevents tangling.  The loop in the neckline also helps keep the cord and headpiece in place when the headpiece falls off, making it much easier to find the dislodged headpiece and put it back on.  Another nice feature of the shirt is that it isn’t obvious that my kids are even wearing CI processors at all.  The CI processors are barely visible when inside the pocket (it just looks like a bump in the shirt), and the cords are nicely concealed inside the shirt and only appear where they come out of the collar.

ciwear_pic1Our first sporting activity after receiving our prototype shirt was a soccer match.  Although the shirt was designed for the water, I decided to give it a try for my son’s soccer game to see if it helped hold his processors in place.  His normal way to wear his Neptune processors was to clip them to the collar of his shirt, but they would bounce around when he ran, and the cords were always an issue.  I inserted both processors in his shirt before he put it on, then he put the shirt on with the processors already in place and off he went.  I was concerned he might get too hot in the rash guard because it is a thicker material than a regular Under Armour shirt, but it was not a particularly hot day and he didn’t complain.  The shirt worked amazingly well and kept both his processors and cords tucked away while he ran up and down the field.  It also hid his processors nicely.  The shirt was an improvement over the way he used to wear his processors.

We didn’t get a chance to go to the beach before I had to send the shirt back so I didn’t try the prototype shirt at the beach.  I received an email a few weeks ago that the shirts were available for sale and immediately purchased two:  a gray one for my nine-year old boy, and a blue one for my 3-year old girl.  I couldn’t be happier!  We’ve now worn our shirts at the beach in the water and they work extremely well.  The processors are very secure in the pockets and I don’t have any worries about the kids losing their processors in the waves while boogie boarding or surfing.  The cords do not tangle nearly as much as they used to due to the loop in the collar that keeps each cord on the correct side.  It’s also nice that the shirts have built-in UV protection – an added bonus.

My son also routinely wears his Ci Wear shirt under his basketball jersey and it works equally well for basketball.  I’m sure that his CI Wear shirt will become a standard part of his uniform he wears for any sport.

ciwear_pic2The shirt should also work well for other CI processors (not just the Advanced Bionics Neptune processor) – particularly any processor with an off-the-ear wearing option.  In fact, I put my iPhone in the pocket and it fits nicely due to the stretch in the material. I’m thinking of ordering one for myself to hold my iPod or iPhone while running.  My son that does not wear CI’s also wore a CI Wear shirt at the beach and filled the pockets in the arm with his beach “treasures”.  I plan to buy one for him as well!

My wish-list for the CI shirt would be to have the shirt also available in a thinner material for everyday use as a pocket shirt under regular clothes for my daughter that wears her Neptune processors on a daily basis, and for sporting events other than the beach.  Of course pink would be a nice color for all the girly girls out there.

Overall this is an excellent product and I am happy to have a well-designed, good-looking shirt that not only conceals my kids CI processors, but keeps them safely tucked away for sporting and outdoor activities.  Thank you Ci Wear!

About the Author

Terrie Kellmeyer is a mother of three active children, two of which wear cochlear implants. Although she has never let her kids cochlear implants limit their sporting and beach activities, she is appreciative of having a new wearing option to hold their cochlear implants which allows her kids to focus on the important things- getting the basket or catching the wave, not worrying about losing a processor! For additional information she may be contacted at terrie.kellmeyer@cox.net.

Cochlear Aqua+ FAQs

FAQs about Cochlear customer support about the upcoming waterproof sleeve for the Nucleus 5 and Nucleus 6 processors!
Aqua+

Q: What is the Aqua+?
A: The Aqua+ is a soft, flexible silicone sleeve that fits over an existing
CP810 or CP900 series processor. When used with the Aqua+ Coil, it allows
CI recipients to participate in water activities where additional
protection is needed.

Q: Is the Aqua+ waterproof?
A: Yes. The Aqua+ has achieved an IP68 ingress protection rating in 3
metres of still water for 2 hours. Cochlear also performed extensive “real
life” testing to simulate bathing in soapy water and swimming in
chlorinated or salt water.

Q: Which processor(s) is it compatible with?
A: The Aqua+ is designed to work with Nucleus 6 CP910 or CP920 processors
and the Nucleus 5 CP810 processor with rechargeable batteries only.

Q: Can I use my regular coil and coil cable with the Aqua+?
A: No, the Aqua+ should only be used with the specified Aqua+ Coil. This
integrated coil-cable is designed specifically for underwater swimming in
all water types, while your standard coil and coil cable are not.

Q: Can people re-use the Aqua+?
A: Yes, the Aqua+ sleeve is tested for up to 50 reuses. Cochlear recommends
replacing the Aqua+ sleeve every 50 uses or if the Aqua+ sleeve becomes
worn or damaged. The Aqua+ Coil is tested for up to 180 uses. Individual
results will vary depending on frequency, duration and type of use.

How to swim with YOUR CI processor

Recent advances in cochlear implants have enabled some of us to go swimming with our ears on.  Advanced Bionics’ Neptune is the only waterproof processor. But not everybody has one, or is in a position to get one.

Cochlear’s Aqua Accessory is a single-use plastic bag designed for the Nucleus 5 processor.  Usable for up to one or two hours, depending on your location, “Your Nucleus Global Limited Warranty will not be void in circumstances where the Aqua Accessory is used in water with a CP800 series sound processor only, in accordance with the Aqua Accessory instructions.”

The Aqua Accessory’s position on the ear makes sense for a BTE processor, but may not be the best location for water activities.  Because it is a big flap extending behind your ear, it can come off when you jump in the water.  It’s certainly a good idea to use a tether at a minimum, and a swim cap and goggles are even better.

The aLOKSAK bag from LOKSAK is hermetic and certified waterproof up to 200 feet (60 meters) depth.  You can put your processor in a reusable aLOKSAK bag, and tuck the bag under a Nammu swim hat.  Dive, jump, surf, and splash all day long!

Because this solution doesn’t come from the cochlear implant manufacturers, use it at your own risk.  However, we have tested this in lots of situations, including on the incredible FlowRider.

20090824_Flowrider1

Surf until you wipe out, then 35,000 gallons of water per minute carries you to the top of the ramp and over the lip, where you hit the padded wall.  And the Nammu swim hat never comes off!

The aLOKSAK/Nammu combination works with any BTE processor, and also MED-EL’s one-piece RONDO.  The smallest bag, aLOK3-3X6, is large enough to hold any recent BTE processor and headpiece.

In a special offer from cochlearimplantHELP.com and Nammu swim hats, use discount code ‘cochlearimplantHELP’ to get a 25% discount at Nammu until August 15th!

Nammu Swim Hat

why-nammu

Use the Nammu Swim Hat to go swimming with your cochlear implant processor!

The Aqua Accessory from Cochlear, and the aLOKSAK bag from, well, LOKSAK, are waterproof bags that can protect your BTE cochlear implant processor from water damage. Unfortunately, the bags can come off pretty easily if you jump in the pool or do just about anything at a water park.

The Nammu Swim Hat is a stylish way to secure your processor to your head. Our resourceful friend Ben demonstrates how to use the Nammu Swim Hat.

  • The Nammu Hat is comfortable!  It’s easy to put on, and doesn’t tug at your hair when you take it off.
  • While the Aqua Accessory is designed to sit on your ear, it can be rotated up so that it is completely under the Nammu Hat.  Just make sure to keep the headpiece magnet in the correct location.  This prevents water from getting underneath it and pulling the whole assembly off.
  • The aLOKSAK bag doesn’t sit on your ear at all, so it has to go under the Nammu Swim Hat.

The hats used in the video were generously provided by Nammu.

Many thanks to the Leventhal-Sidman JCC for the use of the pool to create the video.

Neptune processor has passed additional testing for use in lakes, oceans and rivers

WATERPROOF NEPTUNE SOUND PROCESSOR FROM ADVANCED BIONICS

SURF AND SAIL FRIENDLY

WITH WARRANTY FOR USE IN OCEANS, LAKES AND RIVERS

Neptune, the industry’s first and only swimmable sound processor, is now fully warranted for use in oceans, lakes and rivers in addition to pools, baths and showers.

Advanced Bionics (AB), the global leader in cochlear implant technology and a company of the Sonova Group, announced today that Neptune™, the world’s first and only swimmable, waterproof sound processor, has passed rigorous internal testing and is now warranted for use in oceans, lakes and rivers. The award-winning Neptune processor has already been designated for use in pools, baths and showers. Neptune comes compatible with the AquaMic, the industry’s only waterproof headpiece and microphone, which passed the same rigorous testing. All Neptune processors and AquaMic headpieces qualify for this warranted use. Further fulfilling AB’s commitment to delivering the best in quality and durability, AB cochlear implant recipients can now enjoy the opportunity to hear in every water environment.

Recipients using other products on the market remove their processor when they swim or bathe, which means they miss out on important safety instructions and opportunities for language development because they are not hearing during those times. Parents of pediatric recipients using Neptune processors will appreciate the bonding and learning that comes with hearing during bath time, as well as the safety of hearing in pools, oceans, rivers and lakes.

“It’s important to understand the difference between water resistant and waterproof. With our fully submergible technology, recipients can swim under water giving them access to hearing during far more lifestyle activities than products that can only be splashed,” said Hansjuerg Emch, Group Vice President of the Sonova Medical Division within which AB resides. “We are proud to be the only company in the world to offer a truly waterproof sound processor for cochlear implant recipients. It’s incredibly rewarding when our recipients tell us how it changed their lives to hear the waves while surfing or a lifeguard’s whistle while swimming.”

Developed for all weather, terrain, ages and lifestyles, Neptune allows for hearing during robust water and sports activities thanks to its unique waterproof design. Now with the ability to use the Neptune processor in all water environments, recipients can enjoy the peace of mind from hearing while taking part in a wide variety of additional activities beyond swimming and bathing, such as boating, waterskiing, jet-skiing, rafting, fishing, parasailing, wind gliding, surfing and snorkeling.

“I have been going whitewater rafting with friends for the past five years. I always had to sit
directly behind someone and follow them to know how to paddle. This year, I wore one of my Neptune processors and was able to hear the river guide yell out the commands myself!” said AB recipient Steven Hecht. “Not only did I get splashed while going through the class four rapids, I jumped out of the boat into the rapids with my Neptune processor on the entire time. It really made a huge difference to be able to hear while rafting!”

Advanced Bionics was able to develop this industry innovation without compromising hearing performance. Neptune is fully compatible with the most advanced hearing technology, including ClearVoice™*, HiRes Fidelity 120™* and AutoSound™, which are also available from AB.* These sophisticated sound processing strategies are designed to deliver the best hearing performance in real-world environments where recipients would otherwise struggle, such as busy offices, loud playgrounds, music recitals and crowded restaurants.

For more information about Neptune, contact a local Advanced Bionics representative or
visit AdvancedBionics.com

Press release from Advanced Bionics November 27, 2012

Nammu Swim Caps for Aqua Accessory

The Nammu Swim Cap is a stylish option to hold your processors securely when using the Aqua Accessory or aLOKSAK bag to keep your processor dry.  Read this testimonial from a happy Nammu customer!

Update:  Check out our review and video demo.