Download 13th International Conference on Cochlear Implants and Other

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Study to examine the feasibility of using radio aids (FM systems) in an aqueous environment,
specifically school based swimming lessons with Cochlear Corporation processors
Peake C.M.
University of Southampton, Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, Southampton, United Kingdom
Intro: The recent introduction of the Aqua Accessory for use with recent Cochlear processors has made the use
of radio aids in the swimming pool feasible. Thus children might not only make use of their hearing in watery
environments but also benefit from a greatly improved signal-to-noise ratio in school based swimming lessons.
Methods: The study considered children having school based swimming lessons, who were users of Cochlear
Corporation processors, and who were accompanied by teachers or assistants trained in the use of radio hearing
systems. The radio receivers had to be ear level types that would physically fit into the Aqua Accessory.
Questionnaires were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the Aqua Accessory with the processor and radio
Results: Children demonstrated improved access to instruction, increased confidence, increased enjoyment of
the sessions, and greater engagement with other children.
Discussion: It has been well documented for decades that deaf children need greatly improved signal to noise
ratio for satisfactory learning, yet the noisiest conceivable environment of the swimming pool is the most
challenging to overcome. This study showed the considerable benefits for a number of children having swimming
lessons. The study also highlighted the need to make adjustments to equipment and counsel the children about
noise they had not previously experienced. Waterproofing is a relatively recent phenomenon in hearing
instruments. This study might lead to other more detailed studies which in turn could encourage other
manufactures to look more closely at making devices more water resistant.
Conclusion: Radio aids can, with some processors be used to great effect in this very important learning
situation, reducing risk, reducing stress (for child and teacher), increasing enjoyment and engagement.