The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

I Miss My Residual Hearing Friday, February 8, 2008

Filed under: ipod,karen — Allison @ 12:03 am

Fall 1999. Senior in high school. My only solace was to fall asleep to music every night.

I’d climb in bed with my discman, and jam those earbuds as far in they could go. Sometimes I’d fall asleep with a finger in my ear, holding the earbud juuuust the right way for maximum sound, and using the pillow to hold the other one in place. The music would be turned up as high as it would go, the volume-limiter disabled.

My mom would cringe, afraid that I’d be damaging what residual hearing I had left even more, as she could hear the music emitting from the headphones when she entered my bedroom to tell me goodnight. But me, being the stubborn teenager I was, went on my merry way.

In those days, the music of my choice was Christina Aguilera’s self-titled CD. That was the CD that could get me bouncy in the morning, and soothe me to sleep at night. I would start with “Genie In A Bottle” and often fall asleep by the time “Love For All Seasons” came on. I expanded to other CDs, most notably bt’s “Ima”.

Here I am again tonight, 9 years later, laying in bed. The state is New York, and instead of a discman, the technology is an iPOD. Tonight’s song of choice is blink-182’s “Give Me One Good Reason” (mostly because of the words/instruments (help?) at 0:24-0:30, 0:43-0:50, 1:36-1:49, which have been rattling around inside my head for the last three days)

My left ear is the only one that’s functional, as the cochlear implant has destroyed all my residual hearing. I feel saddened by this, almost two years after my surgery, that I can’t partake in a former guilty pleasure of mine (and that the sound of my CI hasn’t been great of late, and needs some more tweaking, plus I’ve been having other issues.).

I miss hearing sound in its natural state, yet am relieved to still be able to hear it naturally with my left ear and know that it sounds the same when I put my hearing aid on. It’s very odd to lay here hearing sound in one ear, and the other waiting for the sound that will never be. And I miss it.

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Get Your Hands Up! Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Filed under: ipod,music,school,sound discovery,sound identification — Allison @ 6:10 pm

I’m in the PPL lab working on my website for my web design class, rockin’ out to my iPOD as I’m coding away. I’ve been on a hunt for new music to listen to, since I’ve been getting bored with music lately, as there isn’t THAT sound that’s catching me.

So I picked Fergie’s “The Dutchess” album, since I haven’t listened to it yet, other than “Fergalicious” and “London Bridge”.  I have no idea what tracks are on this album, so I’m not even paying attention to it.

“get your hands up (x8)”

It caught my attention that I could understand the words faintly in the background, at the beginning of the song.  I picked up my iPOD to find out what song it was, and it was “Get Your Hands Up”, which I haven’t heard before.

It’s not even listed in the lyrics online, as it’s “background” lyrics, but I understood it clearly, and on my first time listening to this song, without even paying attention to it.

To fellow students at school (and to people online), I’m more than willing to sit and talk with you or answer any questions you may have about the cochlear implant. I really appreciate those of you who come and ask me questions about it, and I hope I can help you in any way!

I promise, I don’t bite. 🙂

 

The Last 3 Weeks Thursday, April 12, 2007

So much for writing in here on a daily basis, but I do come bearing plenty of news.

1. I went to the store on March 29, and as soon as I walked into the store, I recognized the song that was playing. Eiffel 65 – “Blue (Da Ba Dee)”. I went over to the cashier and asked her if that was the song that was playing, and she said yes.

2. I’m starting to pick up more phrases here and there, but nothing all at once. It’s slow going, but patience.

3. The CI panel was excellent. It was fantastic getting to talk to other CI users, and hear about their experiences. In addition, we got to educate the audience about cochlear implants and answer any questions they had.

4. I have a new input device for my iPOD. I am no longer using the DirectConnect cable, as I’m tired of changing them around. This one works with both my hearing aid and the cochlear implant, and just requires the flip of a switch. It’s not the HATIS, but I can’t remember the name of the manufacturer off the top of my head right now but it’s called the Freedom. The best part, the cord is white, so I get to look “cool”. :-p

5. Mandy and I are both upset about the Harmony release news. I have to wait till July to get mine. More info on that in an upcoming post.

6. NAG is coming up soon, and Mandy and I are busy preparing for it. I’m nervous, but excited at the same time. It’s been interesting putting together the timeline and all the data for the booth.

7. I’m behind in writing back emails, so I apologize to those who have been waiting for a response.

Anyway, more soon! Hope all is well with you!

 

It Doesn’t Change How I Like It…LOUD Thursday, February 1, 2007

After a few months of avoiding music because my brain was tired, graduating to playing at low volume, then listening to it through headphones, I finally realized something tonight.

No matter how deaf I am, if I have a cochlear implant or not, I’m always going to like my music loud.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for the poor souls that are within a five-mile radius of me, whether on the road or at home.

There is nothing like the feel of the bass pulsing through your body. The vibrations cascading down your back. The ripples of the sound as it skips around your ears, giving you a pleasant rush, leading you to the crescending high. Music is my drug. It’s an addiction that I can shake, but only for so long.

I just have to blast it, drench myself in sound. I have to feel it through every inch of my body. And tonight, I had the feeling of being reborn through the songs.

“4 My People (Basement Jaxx Remix Radio Edit)” – Missy Elliott
“Lazy (Original Mix) [feat. David Byrne]” – X-Press 2
“Young, Fresh N’ New (Timo Maas Remix)” – Kelis
“It’s Gonna Be…(A Lovely Day) [Bini&Martini Club Remix]” – Brancaccio&Aisher
“Shifter (Full Vocal Mix) [feat. MC Chickaboo]” – Timo Maas
“Salsoul Nugget (If You Wanna) [Extended Vocal Mix]” – Girl Next Door
“Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love, Then Why Does It Feel So Good) [Extended Vocal Mix]” – Spiller
“What A Girl Wants (Thunderpuss Dirty Club Mix)” – Christina Aguilera
“Freakin’ You” – Jungle Brothers
“Rendez-Vu” – Basement Jaxx
“Blue Skies (Deep Dish Blue Phunk Mix) [feat. Tori Amos]” – bt
“Lapdance (Paul Oakenfold Swordfish Mix)” – N.E.R.D.

The cochlear implant won’t change how I like my music. It does give me the ability to hear it when it’s faint, but it doesn’t have the same energy and intensity for me. I cannot deny who I am.

So! In the words of Nintendo’s Game Boy Campaign from the 1990s…“Play It Loud”. Rock on! \m/

And for the eardrums everywhere who hoped that the CI would make things quieter…I’m so very sorry.

p.s. If you’re familiar with any of those songs, and can think of more that I might enjoy, please share!

 

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.

 

How The Cochlear Implant Works With An Apple iPOD Friday, January 19, 2007

Ian and Aphrodite ask how the cochlear implant works with the iPOD. When I first heard about it, I wasn’t sure how it would work either, but here it is.

Auria with T-Mic earhook, DirectConnect earhook, and cable

 

 

Auria with DirectConnect earhook, attaching the cable

 

 

Auria with DirectConnect earhook, attached to cable

 

 

The whole setup, notice the silver middle – that is the evil static-causing connector.

 

 

Mandy figured out that you could remove it and still play it (I take no responsibility if you do the same) NO MORE STATIC! I’m not sure what the purpose of it is, but I think it has to do something with grounding it against electricity.

 

 

What it looks like when I wear it.

 

 

The only thing I don’t like about it is that I have to change the earhook back and forth whenever I want to listen to music or participate in conversation. The only reason why I have to switch back and forth is because I’ve got my Auria programmed to listen to music alone, because with the hearing aid, I hated hearing all the background noise, as I felt it overshadowed the music.

 

With my hearing aids, I could just pull off the boots, or switch back and forth between microphone (hearing both music and the environment), or just music alone.

 

I’m currently looking into other methods of getting the sound to my ears, such as the HATIS Epic. When the Harmony comes out, the built-in T-Coil will eliminate the whole changing-earhooks and the use of a Y-Split for stereo sound.

 

Some ask, why use the Y-Split? It’s needed because I have two different cables, one for my hearing aid, and one for the cochlear implant, to get stereo sound. (don’t have a picture yet as the cable for the hearing aid is missing at the moment!)

 

Be warned, this method with the HATIS only works if you have a telecoil built into your hearing aid and/or if your hearing aid is programmed for it (if needed). I have a Siemens Triano SP digital hearing aid with a telecoil. I would highly recommend, as with any assistive listening device (other than the cochlear implant) to try it out before you buy it (if you can).

 

Personally, I can’t wait for the Harmony, because I’m tired of having to change earhooks, and having two cables of different lengths and colors.

 

The Christmas Post Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I still have yet to write about the CI Holiday party, but that will come once I get the pictures ready.

Flying home was good. My ear wasn’t happy, as I’ve been having stabbing pains and itchiness. Also had several attacks of dizziness in those prior weeks.

On the flight, I was able to understand “the current temperature in Pittsburgh is forty-four degrees” “thank you for flying us airways” “we are now preparing to land” over the announcements.

When we landed in Phoenix, I was grateful to a guy who recognized me from the flight, because he was able to listen and help us find our bags. We had been waiting and due to the holiday crush, somehow our flight didn’t make it onto the baggage claim board, so we were waiting for 30 minutes. By the time we found out where our bags were at, there weren’t very many left, and the carousel was stopped. Oy. But if it hadn’t been for him, I would have thought they were just very behind in unloading, since we were sitting out on the tarmac for 25 minutes due to the disruptions of flights all over the country because of the blizzard in Denver.

Christmas Eve was nice. I don’t know what I was worrying about, with meeting new family members, but everything was just fine. I worry about how kids handle a person that is deaf, and I think it stems from the fear of being ridiculed or made fun of when I was growing up. But it was all good.

We went to the 8:30 christmas eve mass, all 16+ of us, and it was too far for me to see what the priest was saying, so I just listened. I understood “our father” and “celebration” out of the entire sermon. It was easier to follow along with the music, but I preferred listening with the hearing aid than the cochlear implant, because music is just sounding weird lately.

I have the same issue with playing the piano. I really hate playing with the CI because it just sounds….blech. But I did notice I picked the optimal ear to get implanted in, because the right ear can pick up the higher frequencies on the right side of the piano, whereas the left ear is better at delivering the lower frequencies with the hearing aid.

I got a new iPOD for Christmas, and I am just thrilled. I can’t wait to get back to school so I can upload my entire music library on it.

Well, that’s it for now. Time to meet with Susan. Have a very happy holidays!