The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

Walkie Talkie Trouble Monday, June 18, 2007

The last time I posted, I mentioned how the sound quality was blah. It seems to be back to normal now. I wonder if my brain/nerves weren’t interpreting the signals from the implant correctly because I was overtired.

Anyway, Friday, I tried out the walkie with the headset that we have at work. I can barely hear it, even with it turned up all the way.

There also seems to be more static in it, than if I was to just listen to it without the headset. My comprehension is better without the headset, yet with the radio alone, the entire store can hear the walkies.

I wonder if there’s a special attachment that I can use for the walkie that will work with my cochlear implant. That’d be awesome, then I’d know what’s happening, and still have privacy.

At the same time, my teammates say I’m lucky that I don’t have to listen to the walkie. It makes me exempt from certain job duties, and I don’t have to listen to the general chatter that goes on throughout the day. I want to have the same responsibilities, but it’s very difficult for me to participate in some of those shared responsibilites, due to the spontaneous nature of the request.

But what bugs me about not hearing what’s going on, is that I miss out on all the little day-to-day things that make it interesting, and give each day it’s own flavor. Maybe people really don’t want to listen to what everybody else has to say, but I sure am curious.

The second part that bugs me is while in a middle of a conversation with my teammates, they’ll stop to listen to what’s happening over the walkie, but I don’t know that, and I keep talking. And then they go sorry, and ask me what I was saying. It’s frustrating. Same thing happens with my friends at school too when they have their cell phones or bluetooth headsets.

Having a walkie would also make it so much easier for me to get help if I needed it, or to track down certain people, instead of running all over the store.

I know at Christmas, they told me they wanted me to have a walkie on me, but I feel like why should I carry a walkie around, because I can’t hear on it, and there are other people who are more qualified or have a greater need to use the walkie.

I’m also nervous about picking up a walkie and asking for help, cuz what if they can’t understand me, or give me a message back, and I’m like “what” because I can’t understand them. It’d be worse if I was in front of a guest and unable to help them because I couldn’t understand what was being said!

Maybe I should try it again, or talk my boss about a way to deal with that, when I need to know her or my teammates’ locations.

I already rack up more than 5.2 miles a day per shift, just running around all over the store, and due to the physical nature of my job. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love it. 🙂 The team is awesome.

The other thing that I noticed, was that being back on the job for less than a week and a half, I was already recognizing my boss’s voice/footsteps/laugh before I see her. It’s kinda cool, because sometimes I’ll hear something, and think “gosh, that sounds like her”, and then she appears in sight. It’s amazing how the CI lets you capture the nuances of a person’s voice. Its not 100% perfect, but it’s pretty good compared to the hearing aids!

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Breaking News (Online Live Video) Monday, April 16, 2007

Filed under: accessibility,media — Allison @ 1:58 pm

Nothing like breaking news (the Virginia Tech shootings) to force you to try to use your hearing to understand what’s going on.

Live online broadcasts that aren’t captioned (since I’m stuck in the ESP lab working on photo stuff, and everybody’s talking about it over here) plus I’m getting bombarded by IMs from my friends about what’s going on.

Brian Williams (of NBC News) has an excellent voice for listening…I can understand about 60% (conservative guess) of what is being said, without any lipreading.

However, it would be nice if there was still closed captioning.

One of the worst things about being deaf is that if there’s something going on, you’re usually one of the last people to know about it. 9/11 was a perfect example of mass chaos and no information of what was happening, other than the pictures.

My thoughts are with the people who have been most affected by this tragedy. It’s sickening to just hear about it.

 

What’s The Most Important Thing A Newbie Needs To Know About The CI? Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What’s the most important things that a newbie wants/needs to know about the cochlear implant?

I ask this because the other day, K asked me if I was willing to be videotaped for a “documentary” about the cochlear implant. They have 3 or 4 faculty/staff in the tape, talking about the cochlear implant itself. Do I talk about the device itself? My surgical experience? What activation and the post-activation has been like? So many things, but what’s most important? I don’t want to scare off people through the videotape, because it’s easier to tell people in person, have that interaction, versus just talking to the lens. But I need a haircut first, ahhhhhhh!

Later in the day, I got an email from L asking if I was willing to come to her class on Thursday morning. She wants me (and the other guests) to talk about strategies for success in college. This is going to be interesting, since I’ve had my own share of failures at school, and I don’t really think I’d be the best person, but I’ve learned from my mistakes. It’s funny, some teachers prefer you make mistakes than turn in perfect work, because when it comes to the end of the quarter, this is how they are able to measure if you’ve actually learned from your mistakes and shown improvement. To me, it’s so backwards, but I’m a perfectionist.

I still need to think about the student panel that’s coming up in February or March. So much to think about, and what I want to say. This is already a busy start to 2007, and we’re not even done with January yet.

A student of Mandy’s came in to observe our listening therapy session, and I answered questions for her about the cochlear implant and more. She was really nice, and we did the AlphaCats word lists before we all had to take off for the day.

 

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 photobucket.com. Contact me for access to the folder to see the pictures and/or download them to your own computer.

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Who Designed Advanced Bionics’ Auria? Friday, November 10, 2006

Filed under: accessories,advanced bionics,information,links,media,research — Allison @ 10:56 am

I used to be an industrial design major, so I check out what’s happened in the world of design every now and then.  I’m interested in the medical products divison as I worked on a team project for a competition that had to do with healthcare.

IDEO is the industrial design company that everybody dreams of working for. It has been referenced through multiple fields of study throughout my college career, not just the design classes, but in my Organizational Behavior class as well.

So, while surfing the web, I was surprised to find out that they were responsible for the design of Advanced Bionics HiRes Auria.

Advanced Bionics HiRes Auria: Silver, Medical & Scientific Equipment

Contact: Scott Underwood, IDEO, 650.289.3409, scott@ideo.com

Credit: IDEO and Advanced Bionics

People with sensorineural hearing loss who have cochlear implants (electrodes surgically implanted in the coiled chamber of the inner ear) must use sound processing devices to hear. This system offers customizable covers that snap on and off to either mask or decorate the device, for both children and adults. Programs for different sound environments are accessed with the flip of a switch and the unit can be configured to work with various audio inputs, power supplies and microphones. The system also comes with ear hooks to make the fit more snug.

  • The device also has a visual confirmation that the processor is working with the implant.
  • There is a version specifically for children.

Learn more about IDEO, check out the following links:

IDEO’s official website

Wikipedia Entry

BusinessWeek Article on how IDEO is changing the way businesses innovate

 

Hockey and Fall Leaves Saturday, October 21, 2006

Mandy gave me more Halloween goodness for therapy. Some of the Halloween words are tricky to understand. This time I got to do a word search, and I had to listen and find the keyword in the sentence. Mandy was teasing me with the word “hoot hoot” because she picked a few extra words to repeat at the end of the puzzle. It better not take the place of “mango”, which I haven’t heard for awhile, thank goodness.

I’ve gotten positive responses on my statement that was read on NPR. My mom forwarded the email to her coworkers, and I’ve heard back from them (the entire group is awesome, and have been supportive of my mom/me throughout this journey). I’ve also heard back from the faculty/staff here at school. One teacher emailed me if they could use my statement for a class project that they are doing on the topic about the situation at Gallaudet.

Our school’s first home Hockey game was at 7 pm, and it was practically sold out. Here at this school, the hockey team is the equivalent of any big-name football university. My friends and I sat with the Corner Crew (slogan: we’re loud and obnoxious at hockey games).

On the other side of the aisle was the band, so it was fun getting to listen to the band play the instruments, instead of a sound file on the computer. I really enjoyed listening to them play. The one sound that drove me crazy after awhile was the cowbell that somebody in the CC had. Listening to them bang on it repeatedly throughout the game, to set the beat for the game/crowd, was annoying after awhile.

Then there was some kind of noisemaker horn, three rows behind me, that tooted out the number of goals we had scored, and a long toot for the next one to score. We won 8-3, so I heard it quite a bit last night.

This year, with the CI, it was easier to follow along with the CC-patented chants. Some of the simpler ones, I was able to understand just by listening, and able to jump in immediately. A lot of the cheers I don’t know, because I wasn’t able to understand them last year.

Jen A., some girl behind me, and I nearly got decapitated by an errant hockey puck that was hit by the other team. My back was to the game, as I was talking to people, but I ducked just in time. It was too close of a call, eek. I’m not sure if I heard the commotion of the crowd, or if it was some developed sixth-sense of mine warning me of danger (due to deafness, you tend to develop an environmental awareness, even if you’re not consciously paying attention to your surroundings). Anyway, there were a few high-flying hockey pucks last night, so I should have known better.

After the game was over, I went back to the dorms with Jen A., and hung out on floor for awhile. Realized that even at night, with the doors closed, and not a lot of people around, the floor is still not quiet. I headed home around midnight. Midnight is a wonderful time to go for a walk, as it’s relatively quiet on campus.

The leaves have started to really shed around here, creating a thickly layered carpet of Autumn’s death. It was fun hearing the crunch of the leaves underneath my sneakers. I could also hear the slight scrape of the leaves against the asphalt, as they were kicked up by the toes of my shoes.

Then there was the tiny skitter-whistle as they scurried across the pavement, held ever so slightly aloft by the undercurrent of the wind swooping across the ground. I wanted to run around and experiment some more with the leaves, but I was turning into a human popsicle, and could only think of getting warm and toasty. I will have to do that soon before they’re raked up by maintenance.

In the past, I was able to hear the leaves (just barely) with the HA, and only if they were really stiff and on a hard surface, or if there was a ton of them, forcing you to wade through them. What a difference it makes.

 

Me and Jen A.

 

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National Public Radio Tuesday, October 17, 2006

2:54 pm: Omg! You were just on NPR! – my friend Casey

Talk Of The Nation 10/17/06Letters – Deaf Culture In America

It was a follow-up to last week’s story on As Deaf Culture Changes, So Do The Questions, in which they read comments from listeners on NPR.

If it hadn’t been for the lovely Casey who had been listening, I would have had no idea that my words on the air. Pretty sweet. Thank you!