Advanced Bionics have given me a Neptune to trial (Thanks AB!). This is the world's first fully immersible, waterproof cochlear implant. I love it! Let me tell you why: I can swim, shower, exercise indoors or outdoors without any fear of rain, water or sweat impairing its ability to function. It's small and light, it looks trendy and I can personalise it with my favourite colour covers and headpieces (available from Connevans).
Immersing myself underwater in a bath for the first time to test my hearing ability underwater was, scary, to say the least because I didn't trust electronics and water! I had my other half on standby to fish me out as I tested it! Once underwater, I was amazed, I could hear his voice and hear my body sliding about on the ceramic surface of the bath.... What with the water sploshing about and the grouting groaning underneath the weight of the water and my body, I couldn't handle all the noise and I quickly wished for silence again!
On another day, I spent a whole day in a Spa with my Mother, where I was able to test its ability to hear in a sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and a swimming pool! Previously, in this environment I would have had to spend the whole day in silence but not that day... I could relax in the sauna and steam room knowing that if somebody spoke to me I'd be able to clearly hear them and I swam in the swimming pool, hearing the water splashing and lapping at my shoulders for the first time in a very, very long time. I could also still hear the music, whilst underwater; it just sounded slightly muffled... In a normal environment, everything sounds slightly louder with the Neptune, because the microphone is in the headpiece, but this is a good thing in my opinion! There is a sensitivity dial too, so you can adjust the sound settings to your own personal levels.
I've worn it in a variety of combinations, clipped into my hair beneath my ponytail, clipped to my sports bra and attached to the arm band provided by AB. My personal preference is to attach it to my sports bra because I do wonder what people think when it's pinned into my hair! I've had somebody at my running club come up to me (they weren't aware that I was deaf) and jokingly admonish me for listening to music when I'm running in a group of people: "what do you need that for?!" and then he realised that there was a headpiece magnet at the other end, not a headphone! He couldn't apologise quick enough and every time I've seen him since, he banters: "How many more times do I need to apologise!?"
The only downside to the Neptune is being unable to adjust the volume and programs to adapt to the different listening environments without first attaching the Neptune Connect. I often find that running outside requires a different volume to running in the gym or swimming in a swimming pool and I need to carry the Neptune Connect with me to adjust the volume; it'd be nice if one day this component was built in and waterproof too...
It is important to care for the Neptune by taking it apart and using a Zephyr Dry & Store overnight on a frequent basis, especially after being in a wet or moist environment so that the components can dry out. I'd heartily recommend a Neptune for people who are active, because there's nothing on your ear so you can sweat, swim, roll around, climb or jump about to your heart's delight (with an extra magnet in the headpiece)!