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Aqua+ Review by an Avid Swimmer

May 14th, 2014 by | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Morgan with her Aqua+

Morgan with her Aqua+

Morgan Dordal, a Nucleus cochlear implant recipient who lost most of hearing from bacterial meningitis at age 3 years and grew up with hearing aids, has been an active swimmer for a number of years.   She participates in a swim team and is in the pool at least two to four times a week.  She first received her Nucleus cochlear implant in November 2012 and is currently using the Nucleus 5 Sound Processor.  When her hearing suddenly dropped in 2004, she stopped swimming and didn’t do it again until she got the Aqua Accessory.  In order to hear other swimmers in the pool, she has been using the Aqua Accessory but like many other Nucleus cochlear implant recipients, she has found the accessory not to be very practical.  The moment the Aqua+ was first debuted on May 2nd, Morgan ordered it immediately.  She shares her experiences in using the Aqua+ with Cochlear Implant Online.

Both Aqua+ and Aqua Accessory have have their advantages and disadvantages. I am in the pool two to four times a week, doing swimming laps, and I find that the Aqua+ is more manageable. The Aqua Accessory was flatter under a cap, but the Aqua+ was more comfortable on the ear. Because the Aqua Accessory was flatter under the cap, it worked alright with a thin rubber cap.  The first time I used the Aqua+, there were sharper edges, which were from the door hinge ring and hard plastic of the door, that bothered me.  I will try using a silicone cap at my next swim practice instead of the rubber cap to see if it makes wearing Aqua+ more comfortable.  However, the Aqua+ stayed in place better than the Aqua Accessory under a cap.  Also, while the Aqua Accessory pinched my ear under a cap sometimes, Aqua+ did not.  I didn’t have as much magnet disconnect with the Aqua+ than I did with the Aqua Accessory when I put on or took off goggles.  Also, I barely noticed that my sound processor was there.  Once I took my swim cap off and went underwater, my sound processor still stayed on pretty well.  There is an option to use stirrups and a safety line, but I did not need to use them for leisure swimming.  Using the Aqua+ alone works perfect if we were doing water aerobics. For laps or competitive swimming, the Aqua+ works better when wearing a swim cap.

Putting the Aqua+ on the sound processor is fairly easy. The Aqua+ is a thin silicone-like cover.  I just remove my daily coil and cable and ear hook, and slip the cover on the sound processor.  Then I plug in the Aqua+ coil.  Then I close the door to Aqua+ and I’m done.  I did love that the ear hook was much more comfortable.

The quality of the sound was a bit muffled when using the everyday program on my sound processor. Keep in mind though that I had the Aqua+ as well as a rubber cap on. After taking off the swim cap, the sound did improve slightly. I don’t really have much complaint because being able to hear anything is a benefit in itself. I did not bring my remote assistant to my swim practice. At my next swim practice, I will bring the remote assistant and play with the volume and sensitivity and other settings.

I think, depending on the amount of time one plans to spend in a pool, both options are decent. I plan to use the Aqua+ two to four times a week, and so the Aqua+ is a better investment. I reused each Aqua Accessory bag at least two times by cutting off the seal. By the 3rd time, the Aqua Accessory leaked slightly.

Aqua Accessory and Aqua+ are the only reason I joined swimming again after not having swam for years when I lost hearing.  Not hearing anything was very confusing and isolating.  I tried to swim in college (2004-2006), but ultimately dropped out due to hearing related difficulties. I began coaching high school swimming in 2009 for the love of the sport and continued to coach for five years. Just before making the decision to get the implant, I was ready to discontinue coaching, due to difficulties hearing on deck. Receiving the cochlear implant helped tremendously on deck. The cochlear implant has dramatically changed my life. I finally decided to give being in the pool another try after the Cochlear’s water accessories came out.

Morgan will update us on her thoughts in using the silicone swim cap instead of the rubber swim cap and adjusting the settings on her sound processor to hear better when using the Aqua+.


Tracey Cooper

May 21, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Hi Morgan my daughter Danielle is 12 and has had hearing aids since 7mths. She has lost all sound now in her right ear and we are on the waitlist for an implant. Is there anything you could share with her about changing from aids to an implant to help her through the process.
Tracey Cooper, New Zealand


May 24, 2014 at 3:25 am

Hi Tracey. You can find me on fb at\mrgn41


June 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Where did you purchase these?! i’ve been looking everywhere


June 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm

From cochlear website.


June 26, 2014 at 6:59 pm

That is so great! I have a cabin and I love to swim. It’s difficult, though, because I can’t hear my friends or cousins while swimming. I’ve also been part of swim team when I was in middle school but quit partly because of my hearing and also because dance was on the same nights. When I go to college, I am looking forward to open swim nights. I’m not interested in joining a team, but I’d like to swim some laps and just push myself and have fun at the same time :)


July 4, 2014 at 12:25 am

You will deff be able to do that with this accessory! You will love being able to swim at the cabin! I went out in the rain the other day, working on my house with it!