Helmets and Cochlear Implants

Helmets and Choclear ImplantsIntroduction

Regularly Cochlear Implant Users associations are contacted by their members with the question: “which bicycle helmet shall I buy, so I can wear the helmet without any problems using my cochlear implant?”.
So we have contacted our EURO-CIU members to inform us about the suggestions they give to their members in their country.
This document is a summary of the answers we received from Austria, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands and United Kingdom.

General trend and suggestions
There is a big change in the availability and choices of helmets today. More and more people are using the bicycle for daily transport or as a leisure activity, which results in the fact that we have a lot of choice today when we want to buy a helmet.
A decade ago, more CI-users could not find a helmet that fits well and searched for a company to make a personal helmet. In most countries this is an expensive solution, because there is no reimbursement for personalized helmets.
Today with a lot of choices in the shops, most of the CI-users find a helmet that fits well (after some search). We suggest to visit several shops and try them out. It is important that the helmet can be fastened properly.
An obvious problem for helmets + CI is that the CI position is different from person to person, so it’s hard to make a helmet that will fit everybody.
Sometimes it is even necessary to carve chunks out of the side of it to accommodate the processor or the implant magnet. Using hot knives and soldering irons can make it.
The obvious problem with this kind of modification is that it might compromise the integrity and safety of the helmet.
When cycling, the blowing wind in the microphone of the CI can be very annoying and it will disturb speech perception. Wearing a bandana under the helmet, which covers the microphone helps a lot. Of course most CI-processors today also have automated wind reduction in the programming of the device.
Several of our members suggested to look for more information at the interesting American website http://successforkidswithhearingloss.com/helmets/ .
In Sweden CI-users also use a special airbag for cycling or skiing. For more information visit the website: https://hovding.com/hovding3/ .
In UK, several CI-users are very satisfied with Carrera foldable helmet :

Helmets and Cochlear Implants

Leo De Raeve
Scientific Advisor EURO-CIU
26 November 2022

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