The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

almost time to usher in a new era of sound Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 10:41 am

I’m about 30 minutes away from becoming “Harmony-ized”.

Excited? A little. Nervous, very.

I think I’ve become somewhat complacent with my Auria, that I’m not sure how much different the Harmony is going to be.

People who have upgraded from the Auria to the Harmony say that it is mind-blowing, what they’ve been able to hear. I don’t want to get too excited over it, because what if it’s not that much different from what I’m hearing now.

I learned the hard way when I was first turned on. The hope of being able to hear at a whole new level, yet hearing the cacophony of unintelligible sounds in the first two weeks or so, were upsetting to me. Emotionally falling apart on Activation Day because my hopes were too high, that I would go farther than what was the “norm” for CI patients is not an experience I want to relive.

And now, at the brink of almost getting my hands on the long-awaited and coveted Harmony, my overall state of mind is cautious. I’d rather relish the delight of discovering a whole new range of sounds, than suffer the disappointment of hearing minimal change. Who knows if it will happen instantaneously? Is it going to be a learning process of discovery similar to activation?

A parallel that I can think of is that it’s kind of like counting down to a special event, except that once it’s here, the anticipation is gone. Sometimes that’s the best part…anticipation.

But I think my experience with getting the Harmony will solidify my decision on whether or not I want to go bilateral. At the moment, I’m currently sitting on the fence, trying to decide which side I want to jump off on.

What I want: greater richness and depth of sound, a wider range. A lot of it has to do with how the electrodes are positioned in the cochlea, and how much they have adapted, especially in the low frequencies.

Anyway, here we go.


Lemons and Lemonade Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 10:07 am

How To Make Lemonade From Lemons – use an badly presented open lecture for listening practice.

It was the perfect opportunity to not watch the presenters and just listen. I’m too afraid of missing out on information during my class lectures, so I’m always paying attention. It was better alternative than what many of the faculty and my fellow classmates in the audience were doing.

And finally…happy Harmony news!

Mandy (9:45:05 AM): guess who is getting a harmony tomorrow!!!!!!
Allison (9:45:14 AM): OMG ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!?!??!?!
Allison (9:45:15 AM): WOOHOO
Mandy (9:45:24 AM): all ready to go!!
Allison (9:45:27 AM): is it shiny?
Mandy (9:45:43 AM): yes very shiny!
Mandy (9:46:08 AM): =)


Fun In The Rain Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Filed under: deaf community — Allison @ 11:32 pm

Nothing like getting caught in the rain (and being prepared with an umbrella), only to have a gust of wind send the pole of the umbrella to the side of my head, knocking the magnet out of place.

And then the magnet is stuck to the umbrella pole, while I try, in vain, to get the magnet unstuck, and stay dry at the same time.

The next thing I know, the umbrella is inside out, my cochlear implant is attached to the pole, and lightning is flashing brightly, rendering me momentarily blind.

Fun times. The CI made it home safe and dry. On the other hand, I was soaking wet.

This morning, I, in all of my brilliancy, left the house without my CI. I had put it next to my keys because that’s the last thing that goes on (besides my shoes).

For some reason, I thought I had it on, but I didn’t. Then my hearing aid battery died halfway through my shift at work. It was not a fun morning. Until the battery died, it really drove home how much I depend on being bilateral, and rely on the CI now as compared to the hearing aid (but with a weak battery…).

As I write this, 9/11 As It Happened is playing on the TV. It’s the footage from the morning of 9/11, with Matt Lauer and Katie Couric. I remember this footage like I saw it yesterday. I haven’t forgotten how I felt, or where I was when I saw the first images. There wasn’t captioning during many parts, leaving us in the dark.

Here it is, 6 years later, replaying as if it was happening again. I’m tempted to put my CI on and listen for the tones in their voices, for the details that I missed the first time, when it was live. But I don’t want to. I’ve already lived that day once. I don’t want to live it again. And there are so many people out there who live it every day of their life, probably until they die.

My point is…imagine hearing history. Five years ago, I did a presentation on Thomas Edison. Part of my presentation included an audio clip/movie of him with the first phonograph recording ever made, “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, complete with all the imperfections.

Then there was the episode of the X-Files where they talked about the pottery made during the time of Jesus Christ, and the nearby potters recorded the teachings of Christ into the bowl via the straw (archaeoacoustics, which was later debunked on Mythbusters).

So I ask…what would it be worth to hear history? It’s one thing to see it, but to actually HEAR it happen. Would it be different for you?

In happier news, I get to see Mandy for the first time since May 26!


Fire Alarms And Vocal Recognition Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 10:56 pm

Walking to my first day of work at my new job on campus, I pass by one of the buildings on campus. I hear this weird noise, that I couldn’t immediately place, but try to figure out as I walk along.

When I round the corner, I see a few people outside (it was only 7:40 am, and classes don’t start till 8), and wondered if it was a fire alarm, because that’s what my brain was telling me.

It turns out it was a fire alarm, but I didn’t see the strobe lights going off until I was past the building.

Lo and behold, not 10 minutes after I arrive at work, our building’s fire alarm goes off. And it proceeded to go on and off throughout the morning due to fire alarm testing.

It was interesting, because during the testing, the pitch and loudness of the system changed, even though I was in the same location. Everybody around me had their hands over their ears, because of the shrill intensity of the blaring sirens. I had to admit, it started to make my ear hurt after awhile.

I was having a hard time hearing people today during the really noisy moments, and trying to figure out what they wanted. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks, until I get used to the whole system.

Later this afternoon, I was meeting with one of my advisors, and we were interrupted by a knock on the door. I listened to the voice say “I’m going to go ….” where I couldn’t hear it, and then I thought it sounded like Jon, one of the kids in my college.

I asked my advisor about what I heard because we had been discussing my progress with the CI earlier. “Yes, that part you were missing was when he turned around and was starting to walk away, hence why you couldn’t hear it from the other side of the door, and you did hear Jon.”

Pretty cool, considering I don’t see him that often, but he does have an unique voice. Chalk up another one under vocal recognition.

Note To Self: now that you’re back at school, and have after-hours access and 8 am to 10 pm days, it would be a good idea to carry a extra battery with you. The 18 hours are only lasting 12-13 hours. And having a dead battery halfway through class, with an interpreter who can’t sign very well, is not a good situation.


Back At School Monday, September 3, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 5:56 pm

Made it across the country just fine….and had plenty to hear. It was a bit hard to hear/understand my mom when she was giving me directions. But if it wasn’t for the cochlear implant, I probably wouldn’t have understood what I did understand.

– hearing the rumble of the big rigs and their engines
– the wind rushing on the side of the car
– the sound of mom brushing her teeth. that one was new to me, because I didn’t think that I could hear other people brushing their teeth. Same thing with eating chips/crackers, and hearing it in your head.

However, I was totally unprepared to come back to school today.

I was overwhelmed by the noise level when I went into one of the eateries on campus. The sad thing is that I’ve worked at a major retail store all summer, one of the busiest stores in the state. And that, compared to what I was hearing last spring, was a whole new level.

I shudder to think what classes are going to be like…but being an upperclassman, the classes are small (thank goodness). It’ll be an interesting change from last August, now that I’m back one year later with the cochlear implant, and don’t have gigantic lecture classes anymore (as far as I know).