Cochlear implant users need to be aware of a few things so as not to damage or lose their sound processor or implant. For example, you should never wear your speech processor on a rollercoaster, as it is likely that your headpiece magnet will cause your processor to fly off your head and stick to the metal somewhere on the rollercoaster path!
Certain medical examinations are not recommended for implant users, and others require some precautions for safe completion. Indications can vary depending on your cochlear implant manufacturer and/or the implant model you wear. It is important to always consult the specific recommendations of the manufacturer by talking to your audiologist before any medical examination.
At the very start of your cochlear implant adventure, you should receive a carrier card. This card identifies you as a cochlear implant user and provides information on your implant model and serial number, etc. It also has the company contact information for any questions. It is important to always carry your card with you, e.g. in your wallet., in case of emergency.
Medical procedures such as scanners, x-rays and ultrasounds generally do not pose a danger to your implant. However, it is important to consult the recommendations of your manufacturer to ensure the necessary precautions are taken.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) involves generating a magnetic field to take pictures of certain parts of the body. As the cochlear implant internal has a magnet, this can be a challenge for users undergoing MRI. The magnet could be attracted to the magnetic field created by MRI and cause complications with the imaging and/or the internal implant. Your implant manufacturer will have recommendations for conducting MRI imaging safely.
During the MRI scan, you will need to remove your sound processor. Often a bandage is also wrapped around your head. it is very important to contact your manufacturer for their recommendations for undergoing MRI. Their recommendations can be sent directly to the radiologist.
For more details on MRI, see our article.