by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A mother wrote:
My daughter loves swimming but obviously struggles without her aid in. Can I buy something to protect the hearing aid while she is swimming?
As you know, hearing aids are not supposed to get wet—if you want them to work properly, that is. I’ve never heard of anything that will truly protect normal hearing aids while swimming. There are some moisture guards available, (e.g. Super Seals), but they are not designed to be used while actually in the water.
However, all is not lost. There really is a special hearing aid that is designed to be worn in the water. This hearing aid was, appropriately enough, called the “Dolphin” and is made by Rion of Japan.
Where can you get Rion hearing aids? You can find their worldwide list of distributors here.
How good are these hearing aids? One mother just wrote:
We recently purchased one Dolphin hearing aid for each of our two kids. We spend a lot of time at the neighborhood pool in the summer.
This year we noticed that our usually-very-outgoing son was starting to shut down (socially) at the pool because he knew he was missing what the other kids were saying, and he was starting to notice the looks that he would get when the kids would repeat themselves and he still didn’t get it. His looks of embarrassment and even mild panic were heartbreaking!
Our daughter, who is naturally more introverted, was even more intimidated because she couldn’t hear what was going on around her. She refused to get in the pool at all and preferred to sit quietly in a chair to read and watch the other kids.
The new aids weren’t in the original budget for this year, but we couldn’t put it off when we saw how intensely the kids were being affected. We got the Dolphin aids about a month ago and we all love them. It has made a huge difference for both of our kids. David is right in the thick of the action again (what a moment we had the first time he jumped in with his Dolphin aid on—he came up yelling, “Mom—I could hear a sound when I jumped in!”—he hadn’t ever heard the water rushing around his head before), and our daughter can hardly wait for pool time to come every day and she swims with all the other kids.
Sorry to have raved for a bit, but you all understand how exciting it is when something eases our kids’ struggles even a little bit!
Incidentally, you can wear these hearing aids anywhere—not just in the water. So if your kids are active and like to squirt water on each other to keep cool, or jump in the pool, these may be the hearing aids for them!