The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

the sound of rsshhhhzzzt Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Yesterday was the 3-month mark since I got implanted. Time has flown by fast.

Today, Karla Linn Merrifield, editor of The Dire Elegies, came to speak to my class about the book. She read poems from the book, and I got goosebumps just listening to her voice with the CI. The emotion, nuance, and detail really came through in her speech, bringing a whole new richness and life to the poem.

Speaking of speech, I notice that the CI is better with speech, but I’m struggling with the fact that it seems to be “selective” in the sounds that it brings to my head, while the HA just sends everything in. If there are multiple noises in the environment, it seems to have a hard time picking out which one to focus on, or doesn’t bring all the sound in quite right, and I get frustrated with the pickiness of it.

During critique today, I realized how much more speech I hear with the CI, when the classroom is quiet, and is not echo-y. I’m also starting to get the “feeling” of speech traveling through my ear canal, hitting the eardrum, and sending the fluctuating vibrations through the inner ear, that my ear feels like it’s actually “working” like what I think a real ear would feel like, just a little more intense.

The internal component is still sending the weird vibrations from the top of the skull, working its way down the electrode. It’s just really weird, because it sounds like very faint bells, but it’s more of a feeling than a sound itself, and only happens when the processor is off.

The Gallaudet protests have been a topic of discussion around here, and I am not going to bring politics into here. It did provide a good 1.5 hour discussion at lunch on Tuesday with one of my hearing friends about deafness, deaf culture, audism, the militant deaf, the hierarchy of deafness (yes, there really is an unspoken pecking order that determines the “credibility” of your deafness), different intervention approaches, education, growing up different, the changing face of deaf culture, language, and cultures in general. It was very interesting for me to get an idea of a hearing person’s perspective on these topics, and to either further educate or clarify things. It also forced me to think about myself, my life, my beliefs, and the decisions that have been made, and possible future decisions.

At work today, while I was typing away on the computer, I heard Sid cutting her bagel with the bread knife several feet away. I turned around and said to her, “I can hear that. It sounds like rsshhhhzzzt rsshhhhzzzt rsshhhhzzzt.” She was amazed that I was able to hear that sound from where I was sitting, and even more after she found out exactly how long I had it on (as I had this website open) and we talked about the CI for a bit and my experience.

The hair issue has gotten a bit easier in the last 10 days, as the 93% humidity has brought out curls and waves that rarely exist in my straight-as-a-stick hair. I’ve been able to take advantage of the recent unruliness of my hair, and incorporate the messiness to work with CI underneath. Wavy hair allows me to bypass the challenges that straight hair presents with a CI underneath, such as smoothness of the hairstyle or the unsightly bulge of the magnet peeking out.


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