Staying Active with a BAHS
Staying Active with a BAHS
We all know that having an active lifestyle is very important to our overall health – any medical professional would agree. Whether you’re staying active for health reasons or simply because you are an adventurous person, your bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) shouldn’t stop you from enjoying an active lifestyle. Here are some tips that can serve as a guide to maintaining the active lifestyle you want while wearing a BAHS.
You can and should wear a helmet
Whether it is for a bike ride or for playing hockey, wearing a helmet is imperative to protect your head. Unfortunately, helmets and sound processors are not a great combination. Since the helmet fits very snug against the head, it can increase the possibility of feedback, which may result in an undesirable whistling sound from your device.
If you are already involved in a sport or activity that involves a helmet (e.g., motorcycle or bike riding), we recommend you bring your helmet with you when consulting with your surgeon prior to having implant surgery. That way, your surgeon may be able to position the abutment in such a way that wearing your helmet won’t lead to feedback or discomfort. However, if you were implanted before taking up a pastime requiring a helmet, you might want to remove your processor when wearing it to avoid unpleasant whistling noise or potentially dislodging the sound processor when moving your head/helmet.
Use a sound processor safety line
Although you must be attentive to the device and the abutment region when wearing a BAHS, this doesn’t mean that you cannot be active and live a normal, adventure-filled life. These devices are an investment, so it’s understandable that you would be wary about losing or damaging it. But don’t worry – these devices are put through rigorous reliability and durability testing (see more here) for this exact reason.
During an activity, the sound processor may fall off. One of the best ways to avoid your device falling to the ground or getting lost is to use the safety line. This small, transparent cord is attached to the sound processor on one end and to your hair or clothes on the other. This way, even if the sound processor were to detach from the abutment/softband, it would remain attached to you via the safety line. This is especially useful for children, whose activities make dislodging the device likelier.
Don’t wear a sound processor in water
Summer is the ideal time to swim and enjoy water activities. However, you must remember that your sound processor wasn’t built to be submerged in water for long periods. Although Oticon Medical’s Ponto devices have a high enough ingress protection rating (IP57) to be splash-resistant, make sure to remove it before any activities that require putting your head under water, or that involve a risk of dropping the device into water. It should also be noted that sound processors don’t float, so the possibility of losing yours in a lake or the ocean if you wear it in is high.
Keep your processor clear of dust and dirt
If you prefer messy activities like off-roading or work in a dusty environment, such as a factory or construction site, it may be best to remove your BAHS and cover the abutment to avoid debris buildup. If you prefer to keep the device on or require it for communication and safety, do your best to avoid getting debris in the microphone. This could allow particulates into your processor, which contains the working components most susceptible to dust damage.
If you choose to wear your device in these environments, it is extremely important to clean it thoroughly afterwards. This involves using a small brush (you can use a clean toothbrush) to clear the microphone port on the device. The good news is that Ponto’s IP57 rating indicates its strong protection of the internal components from damage due to dust.
The key is common sense
In the end, exercise your best judgment before indulging in an activity. Will it put your device at risk of getting submerged in water, covered in dirt, or knocked off (i.e., during a high-contact sport like football)? Then you might want to put it in a storage case or leave it at home. Otherwise, as long as you take reasonable precautions, you can wear your sound processor and enjoy your activities to the fullest.