The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

Recognizing New Music Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Filed under: happy,music,sound discovery,sound identification — Allison @ 6:59 pm

So I’ve had some fun music recognition over the last few months.

The two songs – Charlie Puth’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and twentyone pilots’s “Stressed Out”.

After leaving a mapping session one day, and driving home while listening to 97.5, I heard the words “We Don’t Talk Anymore” on the radio. Granted, I missed part of the speech sound, but I recognized it right off the bat and was singing along to the “We Don’t Talk Anymore” part.  It was so cool…first time I’ve heard that song!

As for twentyone pilots’s “Stressed Out”, I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it.  I used the Shazam app to tell me what song was playing.  Since then, I’ve caught it on the radio multiple times and instantly recognize the songs, INCLUDING the alternative versions of it (Tomsize Remix, Live Version).  Nine times according to Shazam.

One night I was at work, and we had the radio on, and I came back to my coworkers and instantly recognized “Genie In A Bottle” by Christina Aguilera.  Of course I was excited!

Loving the Naidas!


And That’s The End Of The School Year Monday, May 28, 2007

Back home in Phoenix now, but not without a crazy end to the year, but well worth it.

I moved out of my apartment, then the next day was Mandy’s wedding, which was absolutely wonderful. I caught Mandy’s bouquet, so we both were laughing over that. Then I was at the airport 4 hours after the reception was over, so I’m exhausted from all of that plus finals week and little sleep.

Anyway, I finished my first academic year (trimesters) with the cochlear implant. 3 quarters of getting a GPA of 3.00 or higher, and 2 quarters of being on the Dean’s List . That’s a first for me in college, to be on the list twice in one year.

Was talking to Catherine about it at the break between the wedding and the reception…was it the cochlear implant that helped me do better in school, or was it just the result of being older, more mature, and doing what I love? We debated that for awhile.

The reason why I think it might be the cochlear implant, is because it’s forced me to listen more in class, because I want to hear everything that’s going on, to try and understand the teacher and listen to the interpreter. Maybe it’s that extra focus that’s causing me to pay more attention, and therefore, do better.

Things Of Note
– Recognized the word “Toostee Roll” at the wedding, and then realized it was that song.
– Wearing the CI for almost 2 days straight = makes the area around the magnet sore. My hearing aid ear was sore, but not as much as the CI.
– Hearing my cat meowing constantly as he rushes to the landing, down the stairs, and greets me as he realizes I’m finally home is one of the best feelings ever.


9-Month Test Results Monday, May 21, 2007

May 18, 2007


Overall, I’m rocking the CI with an 20-30 dB hearing loss. The little circles indicate that I can’t hear ANYTHING in my CI ear without the CI. It’s kinda scary not being able to hear anything, but only feel it when it gets to that loudness. Mandy circled it to indicate where I could first feel it. Being completely deaf with no response, scary scary scary. The most exciting news came with the test results, especially with the Early Speech Perception Test, which, in Mandy’s opinion, is the best indicator of how well the CI is working, because it tests similar words, with different vowels and consonants.

  Fall 11/13/2006
(~3 months post-activation)
Spring 05/18/2007
(~9 months post-activation)
CID Sentences List #8 30% 70%
Cochlear Screening
Level D (Top Level)
31/36 (words) 8/10 (sentences) 33/36 (words) 9/10 (sentences)
Early Speech Perception Test
Category #4 (Top Level)
5/12 11/12

Here’s the link to compare with the test results from 1-week post-activation. Huge change.

NOW CAN I PLEASE GET MY HARMONY??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!


Recognizing Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” Within A Second Monday, February 12, 2007

Last time I talked about the sounds I was hearing at the hockey game. It held true for the next night.

The most exciting moment happened on Saturday. I was fiddling around with the camera, when I instantly recognized a song as soon as it started. Once again, Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” was recognized within less than one second and played for about 3 seconds, as the game started up again.

I turned to JJ and said “That sounds like Crazy Town’s ‘Butterfly’.”

“It is.”

“It is? No way, are you serious??? That is SO awesome!”

I was all excited over that because I have no idea what they’re going to play at the games, and usually everything sounds distorted coming through the PA system.

Finally, here’s a picture of me shooting away! I took about 12+ gigs of photos this weekend of ice hockey alone. It was my first time doing sports photography, and I found that I absolutely love love LOVE it. I plan to continue with it but next weekend is our last two home games, and then the season’s over. We’re not eligible for the playoffs this year, but next year.

I’ve met so many people this year through hockey, including some cute guys. I may have a date or two…we will see. ^.^

(photo by JJ)


Musical Playgrounds! Sunday, January 21, 2007

This was one of the coldest weekends ever where I had to do photo shoots outside. Brr.

In my travels today, I found a yet-to-be completed playground. I ran across it last year when I was out doing photo shoots. Back then it was just a pile of dirt and construction materials, and I’m amazed at the transformation it took, since I didn’t expect it to be a playground.

This was a playground of sounds. They had this spinning metal ornament on top of the tower, that was wind-generated. The harder the wind blew, the faster the “footsteps” were. It sounded like a helicopter mixed in with a plane, but I couldn’t separate the planes flying overhead from it at first. First things first, my photo assignment before I could play.

When we came back about an hour and a half later, we stopped at the gigantic cymbal that we walked through on our way out earlier. The pathway runs through the middle of it, and it’s about 6 feet high. I hit it with my tripod, and it caused a tremendous reverberation. Unfortunately, poor Ed was right in between the two, and I was on the outside. He came out, a bit shaken. I’m sorry!

Then there were these poles built into the ground, and you could stand at one, and talk to the other like telephones…cans and a string. I had a conversation with Ed through the system, from about 30 feet away. It was loud and clear, a bit tinny though.

He also found these gigantic xylophone pipes built into the concrete walls, but we couldn’t really hear anything or figure out how to make it work. It may not be done yet.

Then I wanted to climb up the steep climbing “logs” to get to the top of platform where the slides were. Bad idea. It was icy and covered with three inches of snow, so I slid down 1/3 of the way up. Ed tried it, and was able to get to the top using the railings on the wall next to it to pull himself up. Then I came right behind him, and made it.

The next surprise was at the top. It was a rotating pole, but it had two protuding tubes, sticking about 8 feet up in the air, ending in a bowl-like shape, like a stretched out trumpet. You put your eyes to the viewer in front of you, sticking your head in between the two pipes, and you could rotate the platform to see the world like a bug does, plus hear sounds from a distance away. I couldn’t hear anything, and the visuals were just so distorted by the spray-paint some punk left on the viewfinder.

At that point, Ed was ready to leave due to the cold, so he climbed back down the wall, while I decided to take the slide (I’m such a kid at heart). It was the BEST playground slide I have ever been on in my life, and there are plenty that I’ve been on (I just can’t resist).

I was screaming through the whole slide, as I shot through it. I was launched from the end, flew across the snow and ended up getting snow up my jacket and down my pants. I was so surprised by it that I just laid there on the snow, laughing as my jeans got wetter and colder from the snow. Ed was wondering what the heck was going on, because he heard me as he was climbing down, and I was screaming, and all he saw was me shooting out across the snow.

It was so much fun that I scampered up to the top, like a mountain goat, and launched myself down the slide again, shooting right across the snow. I should have gotten a video…next time!


Rockin’ The Holidays Party Pictures Friday, January 12, 2007

December 15, 2006, we had our Rockin’ The Holidays party for all cochlear implant users, friends, faculty, and staff at school. It was a great success as 35 people showed up between 2 and 5 pm.

We played Guess Who This Person Is, Pin The Magnet On The CI, Musical Chairs, Red Light/Green Light in chairs, decorated cookies, listened to music, and general conversation.

Here are a select few pictures from the party. The rest are on Contact me for access to the folder to see the pictures and/or download them to your own computer.



Done With The First Week Of Winter Quarter And 4 Month Anniversary Thursday, December 7, 2006

Today is the 4 month anniversary of my activation!

Can’t believe how time has flown by. And this quarter, I’m flying solo for 3 out of 5 classes, 2 of which are gym classes in the pool. The third class, my photo class, is 5 out of my 12 credits that I am taking. I got lucky with this class, as my teacher knows sign language, and will sometimes sign some words to help me out, but for the first week, the class has been going smoothly. And I’ve got some great classmates and friends, so I think it will work out.

We went on a field trip on Wednesday around campus, to find different light sources and lighting situations, and measured the color temperature in Kelvins. I was worried at first that I wouldn’t be able to follow along, but he was attentive to making sure that I was able to hear him. At some points, his hand would cover his mouth when gesturing, or something will block the view, and I was able to pick up and understand the word with the CI…like I understood “highlight” and “temperature” and was excited!

We will talk now and then about how communication is going, or if I need more information or clarification on anything. But I’m loving being on my own (for the most part), and feel the most free and myself, instead of being “the deaf person attached to the interpreter and the other deaf people.” I think it makes hearing people nervous because they’re not sure what to do or expect around a deaf person, especially if there’s an interpreter or some sort of aide with them. It’s a love-hate relationship, because I’m grateful to get the information from the interpreter, and at the same time, I wish it wasn’t so obvious that I need help to understand what’s going on. I’ve had some fabulous interpreters, and then there have been a few that were really bad.

Anyway, for my first photo project, we have to do “A Day In The Life…” of a professional person. I picked my audiologist, Mandy, since she’s the most interesting, and most accessible to me at the moment. I’m eager to see how it comes out. That shoot will be on Monday.

It started snowing today, and I got to walk on snow-turned-into-ice and heard the crunch of it. I want it to be deeper so I can hear the various sounds and flop down on it. Admittedly, I hate the feel of snow under my feet, because it brings to mind the imagery of walking on broken glass or bones, but I’m curious about the sound it makes. I want to ski, snowboard, go sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing and hear all the various sounds! I’m also very curious about the sound of making a snow angel, what does it sound like?

The best part of having a cochlear implant in the winter? I can wear a winter hat without getting feedback! Now my head isn’t cold anymore! I used to forgo hats in favor of being able to hear. Now no longer is it an issue!

A few days ago, I was waiting for a friend to pick me up, and I was playing with a dead tree branch that was on the ground, and listening to the crack it made as I stepped on it.


Harmony Info and Hearing Things That Hearing People Don’t Notice Monday, December 4, 2006

Today was the first day of the quarter. I did errands and had a therapy session with Mandy. First I stopped to see Karen about scheduling speech therapy for this quarter, but to no avail. Mandy’s going to be playing speech therapist AND audiologist.

While working out my schedule in Karen’s office, she was typing away at the computer, eating a cracker, and I heard something which sounded like somebody hammering in the distance.

“Karen, do you hear that noise? It sounds like somebody hammering.”

“No, I don’t, I am eating crackers though. That may be what you’re hearing.”

“No, that’s not it, there definitely is a noise that sounds like faint hammering.”

So she stops everything she was doing, and listens for a few seconds.

“I still don’t hear anything.” and after she said that, she leaned down and picked up her bag that was pressing against the buttons of the tape recorder on the floor, making the “hammering” noises that I was hearing.

“There is absolutely NO way that you could have heard that.”

“Yeah, I did hear it. It sounds like ‘thnk-thnk-thnk-thnk’.”

“That is so incredible. It’s just unbelievable what you are hearing. I don’t even know how many decibels that was, but I couldn’t even hear it myself, and it took me a few seconds to figure out what it was! It’s a low, low, low frequency sound, almost silent, and to pick that up, wow!”

So, I went over to see Mandy since it was time for my appointment with her, and Karen told Mandy what happened with my sound discovery, so both of them looked pleased.

I’m going to be seeing Mandy 2x a week for auditory practice, and not seeing Karen for speech therapy, because of all the schedule problems from last quarter, and my final class schedule wasn’t definite until today, and everything’s booked. As a result, I’ve decided to fly solo this quarter without an interpreter for my major class. My teacher does know some sign, and has experience teaching all-deaf classes, and is willing to work with me in his class without an interpreter. It’s scary, but I’m up for the challenge. I just hope I don’t fail, because it is a 5-credit hour class out of 12 credits.

Mandy got back from the audiology conference that was in Buffalo this weekend, and true to her word, she showed me all the stuff she got at the conference, that had to do with the Harmony.

If I thought Megan and Dr. M were excited about the Harmony and what I am going to think of it, Mandy is way more excited about it than they are, and myself. She wants to get started with the Harmony…NOW. Hehe.

So far I’m the only active patient of hers that is going to be getting the Harmony (especially in January) and what I had to hear about the Harmony was pretty interesting.

Among some of the features of the Harmony:

– Built-in programmable LED light that will give system status for different things. It will be like the Firefly for the Auria, but most operations will be programmed to either light up for a short time, or permanently be on during operation.

– programming with the Harmony will be similar to programming with the Auria, but it will be one-click. It will convert the MAPs from HiRes 90 to HiRes 120 with a single click of the button. When I go in with the new Harmony, all it has to do is get my MAP from the Auria, and convert it with the click of the button.

– Users with the Platinum Sound Processor will be able to use the HiRes 120 processing strategy. This is a great way to determine if they like the strategy enough to upgrade and switch to the Harmony. With the Auria, there is no way to test out the HiRes 120 to see if you like it, except for getting the Harmony.

I’m really happy I got my cochlear implant in July, because I will automatically get to start with the Harmony and HiRes 120 processing immediately. I don’t have to wait several months to take advantage of the HiRes 120 Fidelity, as it will be much stronger and powerful than the Auria.

The patients who are getting implanted in January and beyond will not be able to take advantage of the Harmony’s benefits immediately. Apparently, the FDA is recommending that all new patients start off with the HiRes 90 processing/programming strategies (which is the Auria’s capabilities), then switch to the Harmony’s HiRes 120 capabilities 3 to 6 months after activation.

Now that I know what my Auria can do, and sound for the most part is normal, I’m ready to take on the Harmony and reach the next level with my hearing!


First Time On The Salesfloor With The Cochlear Implant Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Monday was the true test of having a CI and being at work. Instead of dealing with customers one-on-one, I was out on the salesfloor, where customer interactions are random. They assigned me in seasonal, of all locations, since that’s where all the holiday stuff is located. Most of my shift was spent running back and forth between the backroom and the floor, getting things for the guests, and helping them find what they needed, while working on the pulls and restocking the shelves with Keely (about 8 carts and two tubs worth).

I understood most people, but there were a few, especially in the beginning, that I couldn’t understand, and I’m sure it was a combination of poor speech on their part and nervousness on mine.

While I was on my last break, one of the supervisors at the store sat down with me and told me that they wanted me to go out on the salesfloor with a walkie from now on. The reason for this is so that I can call for help when I need it, and they’re willing to work with me on this to find a method that works best for all of us.

I’ve come a long way from the days when they weren’t sure about putting me out on the salesfloor, preferring to keep me up front cashiering, to today, where I have been trained in several areas, and they’re willing to put me on salesfloor AND send me out there with a walkie.

However, Saturday, when I was cleaning up at the end of my cashier shift, I was reminded once again how rude and ignorant people can be. I was kneeling to get more plastic bags, and it was really busy (read: noisy), and the next thing I knew, I saw a hand jerk in front of my face, snapping their fingers at me to get my attention.

My first thought was “What the heck? Why are you snapping your fingers at me? I’m not a dog.”

The joys of educating people who don’t want to be educated, and give you a “whatever” look, when you explain that you didn’t like that, and it would be better to tap a person on the shoulder.


Whispering In Class and Music On The Radio Wednesday, November 1, 2006

I know it’s bad to do it, not to mention the epitome of rudeness, but this morning was just one of those days. A class where everybody is immeasurably bored that you can’t resist talking to your neighbor, and that was what was going on today.

One thing I’ve never been able to do as a deaf person is to whisper. I either talk too loud in my attempt to “whisper” or I think I’m whispering, but I’m actually making no sound, and the other person can’t hear me, much less read my lips.

I was whispering with my classmate, Jen A., and to my amazement, she could understand what was saying, and I wasn’t being loud that others could hear me. But even better, my lipreading was enhanced by hearing what she was saying.

However, I still find it very difficult to be able to whisper and control your voice/make the sound in order to be understood without having an audience.

At work today, I was standing in the work area, just stretching my ankle because it was sore, and I could faintly hear music playing.

“Kathy, do you hear music playing?”

“I have the radio on, it’s really low though.”

“Are you serious? No way. I can hear that, it’s very quiet. But that is sooooooo cool.”

I was AMAZED because I was a good 15 feet away from the radio, and could hear it distinctly…I could tell the difference between the music and the voices, and I was just impressed as it’s only been 2 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days since activation.

In the middle of my delight at hearing this, Kathy asked me why I asked her that question, as I’ve been asking her and others at work off and on throughout the quarter about noises that I’ve been hearing, and she didn’t understand why I was doing that, as some of the questions struck her as being odd.

What she didn’t know was that all these sounds I that I have been hearing are new to me, and that I was a new implantee. She knew I could hear with the hearing aid, but not that the fact that these were new sounds for me.

It was a very good thing that I could hear the radio from where I was standing, because that is the equivalent of a “normal hearing” person.

I borrowed a different battery charger to determine if the short battery life of one of my batteries is an issue with the charger or with the battery. After yesterday’s dismal “run time”, it’s definitely the battery. So back to AB it will go, because a brand new 18 hour battery should not be lasting 12 or less hours.

I know that in the days right after activation, Susan told me that I needed to document my journey, because as time goes by, I’m going to look back and go WOW…look how far I’ve come in this short time that I’ve been activated. I see it each and every day and am thrilled.

I would not trade one day of this journey at all. I do not regret my decision at all, and happy that I got the CI when I did. The CI has been amazing so far, and I *LOVE* it. Thank you to everybody involved.