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Is it Necessary to Wear Hearing Protection with a Cochlear Implant when Hunting

Janet Clarke, AuD

June 9, 2008

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Question

My 11 year old son has been implanted since 2 years of age. He is doing fantastic, mainstreamed in the schools. I rarely think of him as a deaf child. Anyhow, he has expressed an interest in hunting. We purchased a youth shotgun/rifle. Before I actually take him to a firing range to begin his training, I was wondering whether or not the loud percussion from the rifle will hurt his hearing. Should he take off the implant to shoot, leave it on, or wear ear protection? While I am asking he also listens to music with headphones and it seems very loud. Can he damage his hearing by doing this?

Answer

Loud sounds will never stimulate through the cochlear implant beyond your son's Comfort Level, or C-level, that is set by the programming audiologist. So, the electrical stimulation that occurs in response to the loud sound will be safe. And, the sound processor itself should be safe from mechanical damage due to the loud sounds. If, however, your son has any residual acoustic hearing, as would be measured on a routine audiogram in the test booth, that hearing could be damaged and therefore should be protected in the typical means used for hunting. I would suggest you discuss the latter with your son's audiologist.

Janet Clarke, Au.D., is a Clinical Educator at Cochlear Americas, where she has worked for just under 10 years. In total, she has 15 years of experience in the field of cochlear implants.


Janet Clarke, AuD

Clinical Technical Audiologist at Cochlear Americas.

Janet Clarke, Au.D., is a Clinical Technical Support Audiologist at Cochlear Americas. She conducts product testing and validation studies of Cochlear products. She also provides clinical support and training on new and existing products.


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