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Summer is upon us! Finals are over, the gradebooks are closed, and it’s time to enjoy months of well-earned rest. For many families, that means preparing for an excursion filled with campfire songs, silly games, new friendships and lasting memories: summer camp.

Your Cochlear Implant can help you enjoy all the sounds of summer, from counselor instruction to the crackling of the fire and inside jokes between roommates. Here are five tips for making the most of your summer camp experience:

1. Pick the right camp

While you won’t be able to control every factor of the environment, some camps are better suited for those with Cochlear Implants than others. You can look for a camp that specifically focuses on those with Cochlear Implants, but other camps can be a good fit with the right conditions. Look at how many campers attend each session, the camper-to-counselor ratio, the living conditions (indoor versus outdoor, whether electricity is available, etc.) and what activities the camp offers. You may also want to contact the staff and ask if they have accommodations for or experience working with Cochlear Implant recipients.

2. Pack your bags

No matter which camp you choose, it’s important to bring the right supplies. While this differs from person to person, here is a sample checklist to review while preparing to leave for camp:

  • Your processor
  • Disposable batteries
  • Safety line
  • Battery-operated alarm pillow-shaker
  • Spare cables
  • Battery chargers
  • Rain gear
  • Protective case
  • Hats and/or headbands
  • Accessories

3. Accessorize

Speaking of accessories, summer is the perfect time to try out Cochlear’s wireless accessories and use them to enhance your hearing experience! The Mini Mic 2+ can make it easier to hear counselors in large groups. The Phone Clip makes calling home a cinch, and the TV Streamer enhances audio so camp movie nights are a breeze.

The Aqua+ can give you peace of mind when wearing your processor in and near the water. Whether your camp has access to a beach, lake, or swimming pool, the Aqua+ allows your processor to be submerged in up to 10 feet of water for 2 hours. It provides waterproof protection for underwater swimming in all water types, including salt water, chlorinated pools, soapy water and lakes.

4. Communication is key

As with the classroom and other group environments, you may want to contact camp staff beforehand regarding you or your child’s hearing loss and Cochlear Implant(s).

Reaching out to staff beforehand is especially important if you plan to request accommodations, such as having counselors wear Mini Microphones or storing your processor’s supplies indoors.

If your child is planning to attend the camp alone, make sure they understand how to advocate for themselves if needed. They shouldn’t be afraid to speak up if they cannot hear or are having difficulty in noisy group situations. You may want to provide them with materials or resources to share with camp staff to help them understand why those types of situations are difficult and what can be done.

5. Have fun!

Summer camp is an exciting opportunity for exploration, adventure, growth and friendships. It may seem daunting to venture away from home, but the memories will last a lifetime. The more prepared you are beforehand, the better your chances of having a great summer camp experience.

Special thanks to bilateral Nucleus 6 recipient Michael Noble, as well as Melissa Romsdahl, the Education and Cochlear Program Coordinator at the Colorado Neurological Institute, for sharing their summer camp tips and tricks. Melissa coordinates the Cochlear Kids Camp in Estes Park, Colorado, which was launched in 2001 for families of children with cochlear implants to connect and build lifelong friendships. Read more about the Cochlear Kids Camp and how to participate here.

Skylar Mason
As a journalism student, Baha recipient, and Anders Tjellström Scholarship winner, Skylar is excited to join the team at Cochlear as an intern to tell the stories of other CI and Baha recipients! She attends the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.