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.
Our 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.
The 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 email@example.com.