Protecting Your Cochlear Implants from Static

The air is becoming cooler and crisper.  The smell of pumpkin pie is floating through the air.  Unfortunately, so is something else… STATIC!  Static electricity has the ability to “zap” a cochlear implant processor, wiping out all of the MAPs and programming information stored within.  Here are some tips to make it through “static season” with all of your MAPs intact:

  • Avoid static-causing situations like plastic play equipment, bounce houses, balloons, ball pits, etc. or remove the CI processors before jumping in!

 

  • Clothing can also be a source of static.  When dressing in layers, choose clothing made from natural fibers.  Synthetics tend to generate more static.

 

  • Give your child a “rub down” using dryer sheets to reduce static.  Repeat this after going outside to play or whenever you start to see their hair stand on end!  A mixture of part water, part fabric softener in a spray bottle also does the trick, but unless your child has a brand of processor that is water-resistant, remove CI equipment before spraying anywhere close to their ears.

 

  • Teach children to “ground” themselves by touching something metal attached to the earth (like a lightpost) to diffuse static electricity.

 

  • Be prepared with back-up processors if necessary.  Have the contact information for your audiologist on hand so that you can contact them quickly if a processor “zap” occurs.

While it’s important to take necessary precautions to minimize static electricity for cochlear implant users, if you incorporate these simple suggestions into everyday life, static needn’t be a huge worry.  Anecdotally, static just isn’t that big of a deal.  Processor “zaps” are rare, and can usually be remedied with a quick trip to the audiologist to reinstate the programs.  It’s an inconvenience, but one that can easily be fixed, if not avoided entirely.

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