The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

So Frustrated With The Harmony Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 9:35 pm

Okay, it’s been a few weeks since I got my hands on the Harmony. I’m still not thrilled with it. I have a replacement processor waiting for me, but I need to get myself in to see Mandy and switch out processors.

Apparently AB’s headquarters is evacuated due to the California wildfires, so yeah, that’s not going to be happening for awhile.

Mandy has an idea for programming my processor differently, to make the t-coil function better.

The last few weeks, I’ve been listening more with my hearing aid than with my cochlear implant, and it’s frustrating. I’m thinking about switching back to my Auria processor because I know that one is reliable and works and sounds the way I want it to sound. But the one thing I love about the Harmony is that I don’t have to switch out the earhooks. Patience…but I just want to hear right now…for sound to be much more “natural” than what I am getting right now.


Balloon Manor and Fear At Frontier Field Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 1:03 am

I have spent the last ten days fully immersed in my independent study/internship project as a photo intern for Balloon Manor. It has ranked right up there as one of the most amazing experiences I have had in my life, for many different reasons.

For the purposes of this blog, focusing on the hearing front, my following observations as noted from the last 10 days.

– I still don’t like the sound of balloons popping, but I can deal with it. What really gets me is the squeaking/rubbing of latex on latex. *shudder*

– I was stunned to hear pops when I was on the “music only” programs for my hearing and and cochlear implant, that it was loud and strong enough for me to feel it. That was freaky.

– Hearing loss is common with balloons, especially with pops around the ear area, and more commonly due to the pumps. I had a headache from listening to the roar of the air compressors after awhile, so I took off my implant. But the hearing aid was fine.

– The number of people who have hearing trouble, and read lips, but didn’t realize the fact that they read lips until they met me. It was amazing to see people who tried to remember the fingerspelling that they learned, or wanted to learn sign language over the last few days.

– I still have a hard time understanding accented English. But it was neat getting to meet and talk with people from Ecuador, Israel, Puerto Rico, Ireland, England, Canada, as well as all over the United States.

– Going out to eat in restaurants, the CI makes it SO much easier to hear what’s being said, even though I may not understand it. But forget it when it comes to echoes.

And I’m proud to report that not only can I recognize and/or understand the following voices without having to look at them: Mom, Mandy, some of my favorite teachers such as Eileen and Prof J., my boss Pam, and now my new friend Suzanne.

It was amazing watching her with the deaf/blind woman who came to visit, and we took her on a private tour. Suzanne’s got the kind of voice that’s clear and easy to understand, and even I was impressed with how she lead the tour, giving descriptions and interacting with the objects in a hands-on way.

I’ve always wanted to create tactile/accessible art, and seeing this made me realize what a great medium balloons are for this purpose. I still like ceramics, textiles, and mixed media though!

Mandy and I finally made it to Fear @ Frontier Field this year, with 11 balloonists and 1 audiology intern in tow. That was an interesting experience, more from the entertainment/comedy standpoint, than from a listening standpoint. Details next time.


proof the harmony does work Thursday, October 11, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 5:19 pm

some proof that the harmony does work (or is it the simple fact that my brain is starting to put words together to make some sense?)

totally exhausted yesterday from all the projects and shooting that I’ve been doing. i was spacing out instead of watching the interpreter. while daydreaming, to my surprise, i could understand several words that were being said, especially by my professor. it was especially good when he was standing by or behind me.

then later that evening, i was off at my job shooting for the theater department. it was fantastic listening to the dialogue while shooting through the lens of the camera. i really appreciated being able to pick up phrases or words, which gave me an indicator of what was coming up next in the action (since i had shot a few other rehearsals).

now off to this madness that is my life. i apologize for the lack of comments and updates, but i pop in to make quick posts to put down things before I forget. i appreciate everybody’s love and support, and i thank you all, even though it may not seem that way at the moment.


Harmony Update Monday, October 8, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 6:49 am

I suppose it’s about time that I update on what’s been going on with the Harmony.

I’ve resisted posting or checking in since I got it a week and a half ago, because I had problems with my Harmony from the moment I had it in my hands. Secondly, I was not happy with Advanced Bionics and the response I got with them when we called them about the problem, and their attempt to pass the blame onto the consumer. I didn’t want to post when I was still mad about it, since the tongue is sharper.

When the Harmony compatibility list was first announced, they said that all Auria parts would be compatible with the Harmony, with the exception of a few parts. That wasn’t the case with mine.

I put the T-mic on my new Harmony, and it wouldn’t stay on. Finally, we were able to get the earhook to stay on and proceed with programming the Harmony. We follow all the steps for the initial programming of it, and then it was time for the moment that Mandy had been waiting for. She clicks the box for “Fidelity 120” and then turns it on. It doesn’t work, as the computer immediately shuts down the live speech with the Harmony.

Puzzled, we go through the process several times, and check the guide to figure out what was going on. Finally, we take a totally different approach, and then it worked.

The cool part was that after I got my first program up and running, I got to take the wheel, and program myself. This came as a response to my comment “it would be cool if I knew how to program myself, cuz then I could spend hours and hours tinkering with my hearing to find the perfect program.”

Anyway, I didn’t notice any change with the Harmony, except that it was louder overall, and voices sounded totally different, more distorted and bass-sounding. I wasn’t thrilled, but I knew that it would take time to get used to. I didn’t have that *WOW* moment, like I did with activation, so I’m glad I didn’t get excited over it.

After programming was completed, I removed the programming boot, and attached the battery to the processor and put it on my ear. The whole thing fell apart in my hands: processor, earhook, and battery. I noticed the battery was extremely loose and didn’t fit in the Harmony, like it did with the Auria.

I had an extra battery with me, the 8-hour battery that I never use, since I hate changing batteries in the middle of the day. I tried that one, and it fell off too.

Mandy called AB to see what was up with the batteries, and the response we got from them was “Call your insurance company about buying a replacement battery. They’re too old.”

I thought this was total BS, because all of my batteries didn’t fit in the Harmony, and since I had one that was relatively brand new compared to the other ones. Secondly, the 8-hour ones I rarely use, also didn’t fit, and there was no way they could claim that it was a “wear-and-tear” issue. And lastly, they fit just fine in the Auria. I have no problems whatsoever with the batteries in the Auria, and the claims that all Auria products would be compatible with the Harmony, were false.

The interesting thing was that the response we got from AB, clearly indicated that this is not the first time that they have heard of this issue with the Harmony.

What made me upset with AB was that the response I got from them, and the fact that they were attempting to blame it on the consumers. I don’t think the responsibility should be the consumers, when it clearly is a design issue of theirs, and they need to take responsibility for it. I understand if it’s just one battery, but if it’s all four, then that’s not right.

That’s it for now. Check the next post for more on this story (plus pictures and video of the activation plus the battery falling off, which I will attempt to upload to the website.)