The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

Phonak MicroLink MLxS FM System Monday, January 22, 2007

Today’s goal was to get the FM System to work with the cochlear implant. This time, Catherine helped us fix it, and it worked on the first try!

I have the Phonak MicroLink MLxS FM system, along with the audio shoe (T-SP) for the Siemens Triano SP and the earhook (iConnect) for Advanced Bionics.

The boots/earhook look and feel humongous, so one of the issues is cosmetics versus being able to hear. I admit I’m turned off at this huge bulking monstrosity that’s perched on my ear, but after learning what it can do, it’s amazing and may be worth it.

I can hook it up to a stereo/television/computer/ipod and walk around my apartment, wireless up to 100 feet depending on which “cable” is used. The signal strength depends on which cable is used as the antenna is located in the cable. There’s also an option to use it with a cellphone, through BlueTooth, but I didn’t pay attention to that, as my hearing isn’t for telephone use.

Last night, I tried it out on my own at the apartment. It was after quiet hours, so I hooked it up to my computer, and I could hear the music from anywhere in the apartment, loud and clear. The best part was being able to do everyday activities, without having to worry about cords, dropping the iPOD, catching it on something. TOTAL FREEDOM. I could have used this last year, without having to freak out about my iPOD falling out of my pocket and into the tub of chemicals when working in the darkroom.

I can see how this technology can be manipulated…such as hooking it up to my iPOD, putting it in my backpack, and listening to music during really boring lectures (like I would ever do that). But the fact that the technology exists is what is so exciting to me. Nobody else knows that I’m listening to music but me.

I think my mom is going to be very excited about this. No more music blasting through the house when I’m at home. 😀

The only negative to the system that I can see so far, other than the cosmetics is that it cannot be used on an airplane while in flight. It operates on a radio frequency, and the booklet says “do not use on aero planes”. I also get static with it, but I’m not sure if it’s a microphone issue or a channel issue. The FM receiver can be changed to different channels, so if you’re in an area where wireless loops are available, you can change to that channel. But if you’re nearby, and have it set on that channel, you may not get the information from your area, due to interference.

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So Much To Do, So Little Time! Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Instead of therapy today, I spent time shooting Mandy for my photo project. Assignment: A Day In The Life Of… Many thanks to Mandy and everybody else for being a good sport today.

Mandy and I did take a look at the FM system, which was neat, but didn’t work with the CI for reasons unknown. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it feels like it’s very protruding and weird. It also uses the same kind of attachments that is used for the iPOD so I am not thrilled about that, because the door cover for the hearing aid is a design flaw (in my opinion). But it was great hearing the voice through the HA without all the background interference. We will have to fix it next week, because there are no more sessions this week because she’s off to GRADUATE! YAAAAAY! 🙂

This morning I met with my advisor, the chair of the photo school, and the new chair for the program that I want to be within the photo school, and conversation turned towards the cochlear implant and how I was doing with it. I notice that more baby boomers who currently have a hearing loss are asking me about it because they see me with it, and it’s interesting seeing the cultural shift and the interest change from not doing anything about it, to getting hearing aids, to exploring the possibility of a cochlear implant.

Catherine and I also did more CI Holiday Party prep, and one game we came up with today was “Put The CI On The Ear”, instead of pin the tail on the donkey. So there will be a processor to pin on, and an implant to pin on as well. So much to do, so little time, but I’m having fun.

Sound List
12/09 – listening to the space shuttle Discovery launch live on TV!
12/11 – Hearing the scrape of the knife on my bagel this morning in the cafeteria (which echoes and usually is noisy)
12/11 – while having dinner at the commons, a very noisy environment, and distinctly hearing the clink of dishes in the kitchen and people dropping things.

1:48 am, that’s enough for tonight! Next time, the theory on adjustment and helicopters.

 

Surpassing the 2-month mark, 1st day of Listening Therapy Monday, September 11, 2006

Yesterday marked the 2-month point since I got implanted. Some things have changed, and some things feel the same. I still feel as deaf as before, even though I’m hearing more sounds.

Felt dizzy for part of the morning, which progressed into a headache, (but after an hour of talking about quantum theory, blackbodies, and theories of waves/light at 8 am, you would get one too), which resulted in the suppression of the gag reflex, not fun.

I keep forgetting that I can’t move fast, and simple things like taking 3 flights of stairs, seeing things move rapidly, or going over a speed bump can trigger bouts of dizziness. Maybe it is a sign that I need to slow down once and for all.

As for my big lecture class, Mandy suggested getting an FM system (oh how times have changed from my stubborn resistance of the elementary school years). After last week’s “noisy” class, I’m more open to the concept. She did some research into the auditorium that I have class in, and unfortunately, it isn’t wired for it (the others on campus are), so I have to meet with the Dean of my college to get that started (it’s under their responsibility). I hate asking my teacher to wear another mic, since she already is wearing one for the hearing kids, or for anything else.

Mandy started actual therapy today, and boy was it different than testing, which was easy for me. We did categories of words in ABC order, and some of those animals we had never heard of before, such as Ibix, Numbat, Quokka, and we were like “WHAT?!?!?!”. Several I had trouble with because speech has been sounding funny to me lately, especially over the weekend. I was getting really frustrated on some of the sentences, because it sounded nothing like what I thought it would, or only got parts of it. And when you start having trouble with basic words that were easy before, that’s not good.

Mandy’s also started coming down on my speech errors, so one word I repeated wrong today didn’t come out the way it was supposed to, and sounded like a gross slang word that rhymes with Chart. Oy. At least she’s awesome about it lol. I know I get lazy with speech sometimes, I can say it, but I don’t always do so, resulting in embarrassing situations, or situations that were made worse (a.k.a. “what a big plane” incident).

By the end of the week, I will have a new/adjusted MAP. Catherine’s going to sit in for the first session. My homework (from what Megan told Mandy about our past sessions) is that I need to figure out which of the three I like the best and why, and come prepared with information. Each one has its own positives and negatives, so it’s hard for me to make comparisons, especially since it seems to change over time!

I’ve been asked to be involved in an upcoming project, but mum’s the word till I find out more/it actually happens.

Poetry class, my teacher was pleased with my poem. I actually ended up having to read both poems, and explain why I wrote/picked the one that I did. I scrapped the first one (which was a modification of a poem pre-CI), and kept the brand new second one (post-CI), and she wanted to know why. I tried my best to explain briefly that I cannot write poetry based on sound that I knew with my hearing aid, versus sound that I now hear with my CI. It’s a whole new dynamic, that allows greater material for creativity. Why write about the exterior shell, when there’s a whole new smorgasbord of details? I find it hard to explain how it’s different, but she understood immediately.

I was in the darkroom tonight developing with Sam, and I could hear the ratchet-ratchet as she wound her film onto the developing roll. I could hear the different noises that the tools made, clattering against the counter, all in total darkness and not having any visual clues. I felt like I was watching her work, but only through my hearing.

While she developed our film, I helped another classmate, Jen A., by modeling for her project. Matt W. saw us and came over to say hi. The three of us sprawled out in the grass, soaking up the last of the sunshine, as we discussed the upcoming projects for the week for class. Conversation turned to CIs, and since I’ve been back to school, I’ve loved the reactions that people have (especially hearing people with no prior knowledge about CIs).

But that’s a story for another day.