Helmets and cochlear implants

21 05 2010


Today, Adam Strecker was fitted with a helmet to wear while playing football. What’s unusual is that Adam is the first person to be fitted with a helmet specially adapted for a cochlear implant.  The company who designed this helmet plan to supply cochlear implant-suitable baseball helmets and motorcycle helmets.  I think a martial arts helmet would also be a fabulous addition to the range. We’ll just have to wait and see. Very exciting!

Adam’s magnet was in the usual position and he has no problems with the helmet padding, he says his helmet felt like a custom made item. It sure looks the business and a very cool piece of kit.

At a later date, I hope to add some feedback from Adam on how he likes being able to hear whilst playing football. So watch this space!

This helmet is available from Dave Lamm at AAA Sales (515-745-2531) for about $350.

Article: New technology keeps him in the game.

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Alternatively, you can try a Giro Indicator Universal fit helmet. This has a slight gap in the back/rear sides with just enough room for a cochlear implant processor, and the rear strap goes over the processor. You can add a huggie (from Advanced Bionics)  for additional security (see page 7 of the Harmony Product Guide) or you can try a skeleton earmold from Westone. It is like an open hearing aid earmould, and you put the T-mic through it.

One CI user uses a Giro G10 helmet.  The “In Form” system makes it easy to dial in a custom fit.  He sets the dial wide open, at it’s largest fit, puts on the helmet and dials it down.  When he turns the dial down the guts of the helmet conforms to his head.   He wears a balaclava (a ski mask) or a low profile beanie under the helmet which makes a world of difference in keeping the magnet and processor in place, and prevents accidental volume adjustments.  It has speakers in the ear pads off to the side so if you have your iPhone/iPod you can listen to tunes on a powder day. (With thanks to Dwyerrobe)

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If it’s a hard hat you’re after, check out this Elite safety helmet available from Greenham.

Take your hard hat along to show your surgeon and ask him to place your implant lower to avoid the internal plastic webbing.

With thanks to Dan from Essex for the hat tip!

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39 responses

21 05 2010
byost

Is the helmet for American football or soccer?

23 05 2010
sammarcko

It’s for American football. Begs the question though should CI users even be playing American Football? Should CI users even be playing rugby with ear protectors or without CI’s? One big Knock in the wrong place and it’s major surgery again for dislocation or concussion and yes with protective headgear!. I’d say the risk is a bit high. Could be a useful thing for cricket though. Just read the FDA Maude Adverse event logs and you will be amazed how many “injuries” are logged- dislocated- reimplant required.

15 06 2013
LoyalCI117

Hey. You need to chill out. Nothing will stop us from being a kid. CI or no CI, every child deserves to have fun. We get the risk. I played soccer my entire life and I’ve had my CI for 23 years and counting.

21 05 2010
Jeremy Freeman

You call that football? That’s not proper football! ;)

That’s gridiron! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gridiron_football)

I’d like to see one adapted for cricket for my son when he grows up!

21 05 2010
RussellE

Awesome!

23 05 2010
Deaf Pixie

There is not safety if child wore CI inside by eardrum while your son wear helmet. I still dont understand you deal with your child to wear C.I>

I dont recommened kids to have a CI surgery. I am pretty much against CI. CI is not curable to be hearing kids can playing.. but if child did not wear CI by magent. There is not safety to wear it while he play football. Too risk.. Your doctor always misinformed about CI.

In Deaf Community against CI is high 75%. I don’t understand at your blogs seem inapproriate adversited

Margaret

4 07 2010
discpad

To the parents out there who have hearing impaired children with CI’s, or especially those considering them: Just look at Deaf Pixie‘s English grammar in her almost incomprehendable comment. You can spot a native ASL user instantly, because they cannot form a cogent written sentence.

Not implanting a deaf infant or child and leaving him or her handicapped is no different that NOT teaching them to read.~

10 07 2010
Mary

I was going to write somehting, but you covered it so well. Her post alone speaks volumes.

16 07 2010
Mrs P

I couldn’t agree more with Discpad! Margaret’s post should be handed out at hospitals as a prime example of why any deaf infant should be implanted before his or her 1st birthday.

21 08 2010
sonseekor

My son is bilaterally implanted and i believe it is the best thing we could do for our son. He is in the national honor society, and does very well in school and sports. I myself am deaf in one ear, plus my Uncle, Aunt, and cousin are deaf. They were very upset when we implanted my son, but they love him and understand that i am trying to give him the opportunity to choose for himself one day what kind of life he wants. If he wants to live in the hearing world he can because he will have the education and language to do so and if he chooses the deaf world, he will also have the sign language to do so (all he has to do is not wear the cochlears and he is stone deaf) because we still sign with him and he is fluent. I believe that all parents should give their child the gift of choice!!!! Thats what i believe we have given our child.

23 08 2010
Catherine Mellor

I would urge Margaret to ask herself why so many hearing children drift away from their deaf parents. I am a single deaf parent of a hearing child. Since I never learned sign-language, and since I never developed many social skills, the only way I could make sure he developed socially was to leave him as free as possible. At his present age of 28 years, we still get along.

sonseekor said it very well, in naming the choices a CI child can make when he grows up. I personally believe it is probable that he will retain his CI and his close ties to the deaf community. Love needs freedom to flourish.

5 10 2010
DEAFA

There are plenty of profoundly deaf who never was implanted before at the age one. I’m one of them. I am not sure if I have bad writing or not. Some people says it is good and some people say I write too backward. BUT! there are plenty of deaf people whose first and primary language is ASL but have excellent writing skills. I’m not one of them because I grew up oral-only.

It’s a shame that you all think not implanting your child will make them illiterate. That’s showing low expectation instead of working with them and improving education using the language they feel comfortable with. they came from the generation where early infant screening wasn’t commonly use that would have given them a language early start. Some of them started out oral-only, but later use sign language because it didn’t work out as well… which delay their reading and writing even further.

Also, English is a Second language. I can find many people from other countries who write the same way in English. My uncle married a person who is not fluent in English at all. On her facebook, her writing mirrors a deaf ASL writing. I couldn’t understand what she was trying to write, but she is improving.

Finally, BSL goes back all the way to 1500’s, you all ought to be proud of that language.

19 02 2013
Tyler Stewart

My son has just recently had a cochlear implant!!!! YYAAAAYY now he is able to hear!!!….. Deaf pixie/Margaret……… There is actually nothing wrong with being deaf, and living that lifestyle. Thats why we all live in a free country with the freedom to choose and do and say as we personally want.

You should post a more open minded statement. This is 2013 not 1960. If I can work my ass off with 2 full time jobs so I can provide my son with the gift of hearing and so my wife can stay home with him so he can succeed with NO speach impediment….. umm thats a quick no brainer. As parents of a deaf child(hes not deaf now with his cochlear!!!) , there is no reason why any kid shouldnt have access to this gift of hearing. Dont hate the players hate the game Margaret. Being deaf and signing as I said is a perfectly fine, happy and acceptable way of life and I begrudge no one for being that way or choosing that life.

Secondly. my wife is from Quebec, so my son wont be playing football, he will be playing Hockey for sure. I look forward to enjoying the sport with him as he grows, since I play as well. Is it a risk…. Hell Yes, as is football or any contact sport for that matter. But I risk my life when I drive the DC beltway on the way to work too. Bottom line is that it is the kids life, not mine, and I will not stifle my kid in anyway just because hes handicapped with a cochlear implant. If he wants to do anything, its his choice. (obviously within reason)

We should support each other in the efforts to live positive lifestyles not look down upon people because they chose to give someone hearing

Hey Margaret, a simple question to ask you. If your child were blind and could give him or her eyes to see,,,, would you? Would you be offended if a blind person frowned on you and put you down and went against you letting your child see with todays technology? Replace the word blind with deaf and eyes to see with ears to hear…… maybe then you can take the foot outta your mouth,
best regards,
Tyler Stewart

19 02 2013
Tina

Hey Tyler,
Congratulations on giving your son the gift of hearing, which is, really, priceless. I wish you and him all the best in his hearing journey … so exciting :)

15 06 2013
LoyalCI117

I respect your thoughts. However I’m all for it. It’s all about what the individual needs or wants. I don’t recommend CI to those who do not want to hear. But I do recommend to those who wants to hear. I also believe that the child should learn sign language and as well using their voice. Why should we limit to one option? Why not learn as much as you can and educate ourselves instead bashing on others who may or may not believe in CI. I had mine for 23 on one side. And also had another surgery on the other side about 4 years ago. I love it!

23 05 2010
Liz

Cool! But I always thought if you wore a coclear implant then these kind of games you had to avoid, as I was told that if you banged your head, the implant was at risk of being damaged, which if so your hearing would be lost for good.

Please correct me on this if I’m wrong.

23 05 2010
sammarcko

Some of us who are amataur or pro racers drive or motorcycle without our CI’s or hearing aids. It’s the inner peace and concentration we get. Plus we need to use helemets that will save our lives if we crash. We cannot afford to use unproven or adapted helemets – we need the best and lightest on the market designed for the task. Shoei and Arai for example.

24 05 2010
fadi

interesting. thanks for sharing with us!
fadi

25 05 2010
Howard Samuels

Adam, congratulations on your really cool helmet! I know this has been in the works for a while, but I never thought that the helmet would end up looking almost as cool as the processor!

Each sport has different helmet requirements, due to the type and force (and frequency) of likely impacts. American football helmets get banged quite often, and you don’t have to worry too much about weight, so they are quite heavy duty. Bicycle helmets work by compressing the foam interior, and are single-use items. If you ever hit your head while wearing a bicycle helmet, cut the chin straps (so nobody can wear it) and throw it away! It did its job, and it doesn’t owe you anything.

Cochlear implants are located in a place not very likely to get hit if you go flying off of a bike, or wipe out while skiing. American football is a bit more intense, with rear-side impacts not completely unlikely, but a regular football helmet should be good enough to protect an implant. The implants have titanium cases, and are probably stronger than your skull.

Adam’s helmet is intended to protect the external processor and headpiece, in addition to its usual duties. From the looks of it, nothing comes close to those items. The helmet should be adjusted so it is snug, and does not move around on the head. I would have no fears about wearing my processors with a helmet like that on a football field. But you would have to get me on a football field first!

Sammarcko, you really are doing your research! I had never heard of the FDA MAUDE reports. In the first 5 pages of Advanced Bionics events, there were two issues related to impacts. Both of them involved ‘only’ the magnet, which was replaced surgically. The rest of the implant was not affected. Not that I’d want that to happen to me, but replacing a magnet is an outpatient procedure, and is sometimes done if you need an MRI. I didn’t check the other manufacturer’s MAUDE reports. AB has a chart on their web site comparing various aspects of the different brands of implants. The case impact resistance is 6 Joules. I don’t know how hard a hit that is, but it is higher than the other brands.

http://www.advancedbionics.com/CMS/Your-Journey-to-Hearing/Harmony-vs-Nucleus.aspx

28 05 2010
sammarcko

Howard. I would definitely check out the Maude reports for Cochlear Ltd
they are far more than AB. Far more repositioning for some reason!

25 05 2010
help in son sports - AllDeaf.com

[...] could get me in the right direction in finding national and international wrestling compitition. Helmets and cochlear implants I look so I can hear…. you know, it probably be easier if he learn ASL so they can sign instructions to him while his [...]

10 07 2010
Mary

Learning ASL is not easier. 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents who would need to learn to sign. I am not saying it can’t be done, but the parent is usually learn just ahead of the child. I am a teacher of the deaf and I tell all my parents, whether you chose sign language or a cochlear implant it is still a lot of work.
My son has bilateral CIs and the only time I do sign to him is when his “ears” are off. I am glad we do have it as a backup, but I am so glad he is oral. We recently waterproofed his CI so he could wear it while swimming under a swim cap. The ease of being able to speak to him while we swim is so nice for both of us.
He has tourette syndrome and is easily frustrated. I do sign to him to communicate when we swim, but with his other issues he just gets mad. With his CI on he is much calmer and I can handle him so much easier.
Every family has the right to chose.

24 08 2010
Lou Peters

Mary, how did you waterproof the CI? My daughter has bilateral implants and is a fish, but we have always taken off the processors and used sign language in the pool. It would be nice for her to be able to hear in the pool!!!

12 06 2010
Sarah

Does anyone know about a helmet for biking and skiing. I have been skiing and riding bikes my entire life and I just recently got CI’s over the last 2 years, (BEST thing ever happened to me). But, unfortunately this year when I went skiing my ski helmet was very uncomfortable over my CI’s, as well as my bike helmet. I have been wearing them cause I am a very careful person, but I want to be a good role model for my daughter, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. Anyone know of anything, or have any suggestions?
THANKS!!

12 06 2010
funnyoldlife

@Sarah. I have added more information to the post, perhaps the Giro helmet will fit. Alternatively, why not contact AAA Sales and ask them to make a biking and skiing helmet?

13 06 2010
Michelle

Hi Tina,

You asked about ski helmets on Hearing Journey-and here is a link with picture to the one my CI son wore last winter. It is child size and now an obsolete model, but maybe the pics will be of some use to you. Good luck and congrats on your new implant.

http://www.overstock.com/Sports-Toys/Giro-Recruit-Juniors-Black-with-Flames-Helmet/4306722/product.html

13 06 2010
funnyoldlife

Thank you Michelle!

10 07 2010
Dave Lamm

Hello and thanks for forwarding the information regarding Adam Strecker and my work with him and his family on your blog! I’d like to clarify a couple of things so that your readers might have a better understanding of why the Xenith X1 helmet works for football players with cochlear implants.

1) Our helmet adapts to the players head and our use of adaptive shock absorbers vs. traditional foam both allows for extra room within the helmet shell and is not truly “fitted” until the player snaps his chin straps. In other words our helmet mechanically seeks the countours of each individuals head rather than simply being filled with dense foam.

2) Because of the lack of dense foam and a relatively loose fit when the player first places the helmet on his head, the CI magnet is not forced off during that process. In addition, if the magnetic device is displaced the player can easily manuver it back into position by placing his finger through the ear hole and repositioning it as needed.

3) I would encourage anyone who is interested to visit our website at http://www.xenith.com for more details and player testimonials.

4) I am the manufacturer’s representative covering IA, NE, MO, and KS and do not sell directly to players or families. Persons interested in checking out a helmet should visit the website and use the dealer locator to find an authorized Xenith dealer near them.

Thanks again, and I’ll look forward to following Adam’s progress. We’re both excited about his prospects!

Best regards,

Dave Lamm
AAA Sales LLC
Marketers of Sports Apparel and Equipment
Lammbo67@msn.com

11 07 2010
Funnyoldlife

Thank you for the information Dave.

Readers, you can follow Adam on Twitter at AdamStrecker

6 08 2010
Gabby " as seen on tv "

This is my first time to visit your blog and
I would say you share nice information
I will surely bookmark your blog.

Thank you for sharing

13 02 2011
andrew shafe

Hi i am from UK. i have just had a cochlear implant done on my left ear. I would like to know if anyone know what cycle helmet would recomend for me thanks

17 02 2011
Funnyoldlife

Advice on helmets for CIs is available from the X Sports Protective blog at http://site.xsportsprotective.com/blog/2011/02/10/helmets-and-ci-hearing-aides/

11 06 2011
Rosa

Great news for my son.

26 10 2011
Ameena

Awesome!!!

10 12 2011
eric

is there hard hat made for electrician?i `m thinking full brim hard hat but it wont fit over my ci

22 12 2011
Sally North

i trying to find out it there an motorbike helmets that will fix over an cochlear implant in the uk can u help

8 02 2012
Nicole

Hmm… I have been Deaf since birth and I’m not implanted, but I am not “for” or “against” the CI. My type of Deafness wouldn’t allow for a CI anyways and I am perfectly fine with that. Although I have a Deaf family, went to a Deaf school and Gallaudet University, my English is pretty good because I sign both English “and” ASL (although signing English is not a real language like ASL is and not as visually amazing as ASL in it’s purest form).

Anyway, enough of that… That topic bothers me sometimes (dispite how passionate I am about both worlds.) I have a question about the helmet: my neice (who is implanted) is a gymnast (which is a VERY dandrous sport in my opinion — CI or not!) She is progressing so well and I am very proud of her. As you all know, gymnasts don’t wear helmets, but I have always though that under her condition (with the possible chance of a head injury w/ her CI) she should wear some sort of protective gear (but she tells me that would be embarrising). But as her Aunt, I can’t help but worry about every little thing that might go wrong in any of my neices or nephews lives. What is your opinion on that, how importaint would it be for your daughter. Although gymnastics is a very dangerous sport, it is not meant to be a contact sport, and coaches are trained VERY WELL to avoid injuries. Any head injury to ANY gymnast could be fatal!… Am I just over reacting?

Thanks for reading guys!

14 09 2012
Tashina Kohlmantashinakohlman

I Am in roller derby and I have not yet found a helmet that will protect my ci. Any advice or help?

2 10 2012
Jason steffe

Anyone know of a wrestlers ear guard that would cover the implant / electrode? I do Brazilian jiu jitsu and need one.
Jason

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