Can You Hear The Shark Alarm?

10405482_1015299228495756_6922539092041352244_nAlmost time for us to strut our stuff in our wetsuits every Sunday morning from 10:30 – 12:00 for Nippers (my son, a lifesaver in training)!

As you may know, we absolutely love the beach, but hearing aids are not waterproof, at least not my son’s current ones. This would not be an issue if we did not have such enthusiastic Great White Shark activity in our waters. Now don’t get me wrong, we’re not worried about the sharks, especially since we have an amazing Shark Spotters Programme on our beaches, raising the very high frequency shark alarm when a shark is spotted.

Myshark-flags son knows the flag system, we believe that shark attacks are in fact a case of mistaken identity. The last few weeks  our oceans have seen thousands of people in the water and NO Shark Attacks! This in itself proof that any shark incident IS a case of mistaken identity otherwise we would have had a bloody beachfront all season long!

But let me not digress! The point that I am trying to make is that as my son gets older and become more confident in the water, I am faced with the reality of how he is placed at a disadvantaged since the shark alarm is ineffective for a hearing impaired water user. I find myself becoming my son’s ears when we are out in the water, raising my voice over the crashing waves and needing to keep up alongside him when shouting out instructions during Nippers training and any other time when we brave the mighty ocean.

I am finding myself thinking about this more and more as he progresses, even though he still has a long way to go. Swimming is still a challenge, especially synchronizing his movements and body position in space (an SPD thing…). His confidence on the boogie board is coming along nicely and he can paddle quite well since the board helps with the “positioning in space” difficulty.

This has resulted in me looking at future options. Options that will come at significant costs! Unlike the Aqua+, recently available in South Africa for cochlear implant users (YAY!!!), a hearing aid user may need to purchase new waterproof hearing aids (which may or may not be suitable for swimming, surfing or body boarding, probably more water resistant than waterproof)…The advancement in technology is amazing, but oh so very very costly!

So here I am thinking about sharks, hearing aids and the future; a costly future, but all very exciting and doable! I can see lots of fundraising and saving taking place in the next few years…