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Helmets and Implants... What is the solution?


Mr-LJ
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I have found that various helmets can pose a problem for Implant users and I'd like to start this new thread to find out ways around this problem.

 

Myself, I am a motorcyclist and need to use my Cochlea (opus 2) Implant and conventional hearing aid while I am out riding on the road. For obvious reasons I need to hear and be alert to what is going on around me. But, there is the problem with a helmet fitting over the implant. My thinking is that it would be dangerous for a helmet to lie on the magnetic plate because if there is impact then I'd guess the impact could push in the implant and causing serious internal injury. What do the experts say about this?

 

My solution while certainly not proper or approved, is to cut away some of the crash helmets inner material so that the implant plate is not in any contact with the helmet. I'd guess that this new 'Rondo' processor would require even more material to be removed.

 

I have found that the ci when motorcycling has been beneficial in so far as hearing more mechanical noises, but the wind noise has been particularly bad. I would like to place the opus 2 further round the back of my head to avoid this, difficult problem though. I bet the Rondo would be ideal.

 

Are there any other motorcyclist here on forum who have a ci? I'd like to hear from you.

 

Cheers Laurence.

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Laurence,

Welcome to hearpeers. This actually has been a hot topic especially with bike helmets. I don't think cutting out some of the padding in the helmet is a good idea as this might compromise the integrity of the helmet. The implant lays flat on the skull. If you get into an accident wearing a regulation helmet and there is enough force to push your implant through your skull even with the helmet on, the damaged inplant would be the least of your worries. The implants are designed with knocks on the head in mind. If I was going to ride a motorcycle, i would just wear the helmet as is. I might have to shop around to  find one that feels comfortable and allows me to hear.

I am not a medical professional and dont own a motorcycle. my advice to you is to talk to your doctor and Audi as I am sure you are not the first person to get a CI that rides a motorcycle. They might have some great ideas plus they know your medical history and are very familiar with your skull.

Cheers!

Adam

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Hi Adam,

 

Thank you for your welcome. The subject of helmets and implants is/must be a nightmare for many ci users, and helmets don't just stop at push bikes and motorised cycles. There are helmets for construction workers, rock climbers, canoeists, police, soldiers etc etc as we all well know.

 

I have exhausted my enquiry in this subject. I have asked the UK Driver Vehicle Licence Agency disability personnel who gave a very poor reply to my letter advising me to go and talk to our local Police road safety officers, they in turn advised me to contact DVLA medical department and so, as you can see, we go around in circles with the problem.

 

I am quite certain that there is nothing that will fit with a ci. Motorcycle helmets, quite rightly are designed to be close fitting and snug, I've tried them with the ci on and I'm uneasy with the close snug fitting against my ci. Some of these helmets have an unacceptable amount of hardness inside and in any case the close fitting would slide the magnetic plate off the internal implant. It would constantly remind me of... as you say it " there is enough force to push your implant through your skull" I don't need that sort of distraction and worry on my mind while riding.

 

You're quite right about removing some of the inside fabric of the helmet and I am very uneasy about doing that but what does a ci user do? what is the acceptable level of safety for us? I think as there is nothing suitable then it must be down to the conscience of the ci wearer in what his/her level of safety should be. Problem is, although that might seem reasonable thinking, it might not be accepted in the event of an accident, when Insurers become involved. Sigh! Frown

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Hey Laurence,

welcome to Hear Peers. I'm a long term motorcyclist also - don't own a car.

At the moment I don't wear my processor when I'm riding as I had such bad hearing for a long time that I got used to being even more visually alert than most riders. I still have a little hearing in my non implanted ear but nothing useful - can't hear sirens for example.

I have the active wear accessory that I have used at home under a helmet but it is still uncomfortable. I think the only solution is as you have suggested, to remove some of the foam from the lining. I would use a Dremel type of tool to slowly remove the foam.

One of the reasons I went for the Med El was its "ruggedness" - just in case I hit my head hopefully the implant would be tough enough to survive. I did have a big accident last year but didn't hit my head amazingly - still using the same helmet.

I have seen a video of a guy putting his helmet on with his processors but the helmet is way too big. Personally I would rather wear a proper fitting helmet and no processors than a too large helmet.

I'm just about to retire one of my lids so I will have a play around with the foam and let you know how it goes.

Now for the important question - and the one on which I will judge you on - what do you ride? Cool

Matt

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Hi Matt,

 

Ahh Ha! another motorcyclist, now I'm beginning to feel at home on the forum. Laughing The suggestion you made about using a Dremmel, I had thought of this as I have one of those very handy tools myself, but the snag I found was that the little cutting disc was too 'square angular' if you get what I mean. I actually used, and had great success with, wait for it.... A blow lamp! ha ha, this gently melted the polystyrene back enough to make an indentation for the magnetic plate to rest in rather than nasty cut chunks.

 

You're quite right about better sight if the hearing has gone. My wife is totally deaf and doesn't miss a trick. Fraid I like to combine sound and sight together even though I've been hearing impaired since early youth, I even like to wear the pudding basin type helmet, terrible innit?

 

Now you asked the big question and this 'could' be where we fall out. I ride... Embarassed in fact all my bikes are... BSA's. Surprised

 

Shiney side up n' rubber side down!

Laurence.

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A stable of Beesa's - I'm impressed.

I have a couple of BM's, a Duc and my vintage thing is satisfied by a '65 Lambretta.

Hopefully you didn't breathe too many of the burning foam fumes.

Is your pudding bowl a Davida?

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I believe that the person who get involve within the process of modifying helmets for the implant users - will earn fortune.

I am totally confused how someone hasn't seen this potential until now...Undecided

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Laurence

 

Have you tried contacting some helemt companies? I'm sure you would not be  the first with a fitting issue. granted it might not be cheap but then again these companies are always interested in helping somebody who might have some challengers to overcome to use their helmets.

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Maybe a new career Ivana???

Laughing

 

As human work is appreciated so little nowdays, who knows...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Laurence,

 

Nice to see a couple of other motorcyclist here!  I'm not a hardcore motorcyclist, but I do have a bike that ride as often as I can (Honda Shadow VLX).  I have bilateral implants and wear the Opus 2s.  I ended up getting a helmet that was 'bluetooth ready' and had those foam inserts you could take out to replace with a bluetooth device.  Before I put my helmut on, I attach the long cable to my Opus 2 (the one used for the active wear option) and then tuck the processor into the the foam where the bluetooth device would have gone.  I then put the helmet on and, with a little finagling, attach the coil to my head.  The coil is thin enough that it is not really affected by the foam, and the processor itself is not on my ear, but in the foam insert for the bluetooth.  This way, I can still hear and don't feel I've compromised the integrity of the helmet.  For the longer rides, I put my iphone in my pocket, plug my neckloop in and wear it under my jacket, switch to t-coil only, and just listen to the music while enjoying those country rides.  Total serenity. :)

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  • 4 months later...

HI Laurence, I'm new to the forum, and know that this is old post. Did you make any further progress with the Motorcycle helmet and CI issue?

I have read all the previous posts, and agree that a good fitting helmet is the best solution, but also agree with your thoughts on minor modification of the lining, maintaining the integrity of the shell. I'm currntly looking into motor sports helmets that have moulded intercom recesses, to give more room around the ear...hoping these may accommodate the CI magnet better, and allow processor to be worn BTE.

Personally I don't get 'switched on' until 24th March, but I do want to get out on my bikes as soon as our glorious British spring sunshine arrives (or at least when the rain stops!).

 

Now as a biker, I suppose I should list the current Iron:

 

Kawasaki Versys KLE650

KTM EXC400 Enduro

Sachs 650 Roadster (DR650 engine version)

 

Previously owned favourites: Honda NX650 Dominator, Honda VTR1000 Firestorm.

 

Mike

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Hi Michael,

 

Adam and I was discussing this issue and came up to idea of contacting manufacturers individually if it is possible to order individually customed helmet.

I believe it would be hard to make unique model because not all of us have same implant nor do we wear it at same position.

Having some other issues - just complicate the problem.

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Yes, REALLY a problem.

 

Next bikerseason will start in a few days. I'm driving a small VESPA, but haven't tested my helmet until the fist implant. Hope the helmet will fit, otherwise I must buy a new one. It will be perfect, if it is possible to wear the processors under the helmet too.

 

We will see ...

 

PS: getting my second Amandé in a few minutes Cool

 

Thomas

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Yes, REALLY a problem.

 

Next bikerseason will start in a few days. I'm driving a small VESPA, but haven't tested my helmet until the fist implant. Hope the helmet will fit, otherwise I must buy a new one. It will be perfect, if it is possible to wear the processors under the helmet too.

 

We will see ...

 

PS: getting my second Amandé in a few minutes Cool

 

Thomas

Still writing wrong the name of proc Thomas? Wink

 

Anywazy, I had few fittings in the mean time and - I would say it is perfect now, although my tech guy says we have some adjustment more: to achieve all levels of fitting.But I am even now satisfied. Smile

 

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There is an Italian bicycle helmet company that mad a one off helmet for a CI user. Let me try and find name and I will post it.

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  • 5 years later...

I am a fairly new motocycle rider and have bilateral cochlear implant. I recently brought a new helement and wear my implants while riding so I can communicate with my husband and listten to music.  The helment fit sunggly. Just recently, one side is starting to have pain where the chip is on long rides. Is there any sugguest that I can do not have to deal with the pain  on the chip.

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Hi Cindy (and Mary Beth),

I don't wear my processor when riding as my helmets are very tight fitting. I've thought about using a Dremel to take away some of the foam around where the processor would sit to deuce the pressure. 

I am very interested in what you decide to do Cindy. 

And I've just landed back in Austria for this years Europe trip!!

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  • 4 months later...
On 9/9/2013 at 8:34 AM, Matt said:

Hey Laurence,

welcome to Hear Peers. I'm a long term motorcyclist also - don't own a car.

At the moment I don't wear my processor when I'm riding as I had such bad hearing for a long time that I got used to being even more visually alert than most riders. I still have a little hearing in my non implanted ear but nothing useful - can't hear sirens for example.

I have the active wear accessory that I have used at home under a helmet but it is still uncomfortable. I think the only solution is as you have suggested, to remove some of the foam from the lining. I would use a Dremel type of tool to slowly remove the foam.

One of the reasons I went for the Med El was its "ruggedness" - just in case I hit my head hopefully the implant would be tough enough to survive. I did have a big accident last year but didn't hit my head amazingly - still using the same helmet.

I have seen a video of a guy putting his helmet on with his processors but the helmet is way too big. Personally I would rather wear a proper fitting helmet and no processors than a too large helmet.

I'm just about to retire one of my lids so I will have a play around with the foam and let you know how it goes.

Now for the important question - and the one on which I will judge you on - what do you ride? Cool

Matt

I am with you on this one Matt.  I too ride as a co-rider with my husband.  I chose to not wear my microprocessor; my helmet is priority.  

 

 

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I work on construction sites and need to wear a hard hat.

I also ride a bicycle with a helmet, so I am well aware of the need for answer for those of us who are implanted and wear CI processors.

I heard that making the helmet large and inserting new foam on tor of the existing inner structure then cut out the new for where the processor coil sits.

I have yet to try this myself as the current hard hat I wear allows me to adjust the size over my Coils  

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  • 2 years later...

Hi all, 

My audiologist asked me if I had thought about a cochlear implant.  The idea didn’t appeal to me, I have long hair and use a lot of hair colours.  My next thought was my bike helmet.  I remove my hearing aids for comfort.  I can still hear a siren when it gets close, and l have learnt to be more visually alert over the years.  Reading these comments has made me more cautious. I had a minor accident last year and my helmet was buggered so I wouldn’t consider modifying one to accommodate an implant.  I’m glad I read all your advice,  no implant for me. 
P.S.  I ride a Harley Davidson Road King. 🙂

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@Janice

everyone needs to make decisions that feel correct for them.  I have friends with bilateral cochlear implants who ride motorcycles with helmets that are not altered and even use the communication system to have conversations with other bikers.  You may find more experiences with cochlear implants and motorcycle helmets in large international CI Facebook groups if you are interested.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just decided to start riding again as part of my retirement. I wear bilateral cochlear implants and my old full face helmet just wasn’t going to work. I just bought a modular helmet and it allows me to spread the sides enough to get the helmet on without disturbing the processors. As I wear it longer I might pick out some of the soft foam under the liner as needed for additional comfort. I’ll update as I wear it longer.

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