Friday, 27 February 2009


For many years, while in school I have dislike using the microphone because of the way the teacher wear them around their neck. The microphone would then be rubbed against their clothes causing the static sound and the sound of the teacher breathing.... just make me want to throw the microphone away. If I ever been asked by a teacher of the deaf to see if I was using the microphone.. I simple take the microphone with me but they were never been switched on. Who would want to hear someone breathing down your ears? or the sound of static and miss out what was been said? Deffo not me.
Anyway, few years go by and technology have improved. I came across this product, iCom, through Ear Foundation in Nottingham by a guy who works in Phonak. A company that design most of the devices that hearing impaired relied on. A new hearing aid, colour on the moulds, sound quailty on the telephone, microphone and so on. I quite like the name of iCom as its quite close to Apple Mac brand name, but that's not the real reason why I like it. iCom was build for the hearing aids user but since there are many cochlear implantes, they adapted the technology to be able to work together no matter what devices we have. Hearing aids or cochlear implant and other devices. Here I will explain why this is a fanstasic product.

What does it do?
iCom is a product that we called a FM System wireless microphone using the latest technology. The microphone bit is a little stick where it can be hang on a person's neck speaking through the mircophone as if in a class or in seminar or it can be place on the table such as in cafe and want to cut down the background to hear the small group of people. Its wireless and it can even talk to pick up tranmitter on a bluetooth.

setting it up....

I have a Harmony, Advanced Bionic product so I would need an hook called iConnect ( another Apple mac brand name... Why am I so proud of this? hee hee) In this picture, you will see the iConnect hook that required a yellow (size 10) battery into it and a MicroLink FM receiver. This Microlink FM receiver is the most important pieces of product that transfer the information from the microphone. As pictures below, you can see I have connected the FM receiver to the iConnect hook to the processor. Once switched on, The microphone need to be in the right channel for the FM receiver to pick up the right microphone otherwise you might have another FM user in the event and you end up hearing different conversation. Please see Hearcare to set up this channel for you.

How does it work?
Basically the microLink FM receiver pick up the information through the microphone based on the channel I can use. There are many way to set it up but I would rather keep it simple as I have only been using it for few days. My channel were on number 2 and when a person was talking through the microphone I could hear him/her. There are three different levels of noises that I could cut down to focus on that specific person depend on the noisy background.

Level one is general surrounding and not so nosiy but comfortable. This is ideally for meeting board room with group of people around the table and maybe no background noise available.

Level two is zoom. A zoom is ideally for being in a cafe with small group of people on your table, chatting with you. Or you could even use this while you are driving in the car and a passenger next to you wear the microphone. You could drive your car without even tempt to look at your passenger to lipread what they said. Old habit may never die but this could be very dangerous if you tempt to lipsread your passenger! Please drive with care! I find this task was brilliant. I was able to have conversation without lipsreading although can be quite tiring if on a long trip.

Level three is super zoom. Ideally for a very nosiy background and want to focus on one person you want to listen to.

iCom can also been use to listen to the televison by placing the mic near it. It can even been used for landline telephone or even better..... using a mobile phone based on bluetooth. Everyone have a bluetooth technology on their mobile phone and this would mean we would be uptodate with everyone else. We don't need to buy an adapter to the mobile phone. Just Wireless.

You can even get an adapter for your ipod as long it ha ve bluetooth adapter and connect to your ipod. This won't cost much. You can find the adapter such as Jabra Music adapter at this link
This is what I am hoping to get for my iShuffle ipod.

I have recently went to NEC, Focus Imaging which its all about photography, suppliers, seminars and equipments. I thought I would test out the FM System wireless Mic out and see how I got on. I must said that I was impressed on how much that I could control the sound of the background and focus who I want to hear the most. Even at the seminar, a guy who presented the seminar had a microphone to the public, I simply place my wireless mic on my lap pointing at him. He was very clear and there were no static sound, no breathing and the background nosie were non- exist.

Coming from a person who can not stand having a microphone because of the static sound, I must said that I am very impressed with this. I have yet to try out the mobile phone and the music adapter.

If you wish to find out more information about this product please click on this link

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Music through Cochlear implant stage 2

It have been 2 months since my switch on and everyone is keen on how I am getting on with my hearing. Yes, the sound of Music is coming back. Not Julie Andrews, sorry folk! I am hearing music much better than I did in the last two months. Incase you didn't know what it was sound like in the first month..... just imagine a robotic beeping sound all in low tones and sometimes I did hear the high pitches but it was not very clear. There were lot of sound like whoozz, whitt, ssshhh. This could mean the brain has not adapt to this new sound and its in need for training.

Well, knowing me... I am never for one to be walking before I run. I simple don't have the time to do things slowly. I work all the time in my self employed photography business and I enjoy doing it. I am still trying to send the message across to you all to know about this subtitles on wedding dvd slideshow. Its a brand new service. There is noone else who does them. Plus I'm providing donations to the charity to improve the future. So please check out my website

Ok thats me raving about my loving business and now we will go back to my hearing. Well, I knew I would be too busy to train myself to hear new sound as I am always working by my computer, editing, emailing clients and promoting myself. The only way that I could train myself was that I would listen to music via ipod. I listened to music 8 hours straight. Yes, you might think that I was overdoing thing and my head.. oh my head... it was like ringing in my ear. not the tinnitus but a playback to any catchy music (most of them have lots of upbeats in them!) So remember I couldn't hear the full details apart from drum beats, low pitch of bass, words were distort even though I knew the lyrics , it doesn't sound the same. Is there such music making so much beepings??

Ok, 8 hours might be just a little too much to start with, but I have to said..... each days have improved a lot. I had some training on speeches, trying to match the sound of the word to written word. I even had to guess what come next. The word "Guess" is not a correct word. I kept doing that because I got so used to making up my own word to follow what people were saying. It should be "listen" to the rest of the sentence. I am trying! :)

Two months on, I was listening to my ipod while driving and I have noticed new information in some of the songs. Especailly in Scissor Sisters songs. I knew the songs very well and somehow I was throw off hearing something like a faint sound such as; a clink, a jiggle, a backup singer. I feel really pleased to be able to pick something up through music.

My target to be able to hear music hopefully "perfectly" (not quite as close but close enough) by September 12th 2009. I am going to see Coldplay in Manchester and I can't wait! I know the band have lots of high pitches going on and I am still working on hearing them to sound perfect. The sound of the lyrics are now coming clearer than before. They used to sound like as if the lyrics were drown by their music.

I am much happier now than I was in the last two months. Hearing music is a great passion of mine and I'm hoping to pick up more new songs everyday.

Monday, 16 February 2009

How to look like we hear new sound

Yes thats right! How to act like we hear some new sounds through our cochlear implant. People seem to noticed that whenever I picked up something, I do a little pose, a little sit up and ear twitting, looking out to find where the sound were coming from. I have won a prize for a new nickname. Please welcome our star of the show, Manda the Meerkat!

"I, thanks everyone who are there for me for whenever I hear new sounds along the process of my cochlear implant journey. I won't be able to make out what it was otherwise i would be posing like this all day, trying to figure out what it was. So thank you for making sure that I don't look too er.... what's the word...... "Odd"?"

Manda the Meerkat is proudly to show that she is not the only one doing a little pose whenever she is hearing some sounds. Please take a look of the other stars of the show. I'm sure you would agree that they were copying her.

Thats all for now, folk! Happy Meerkat Day!!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

New sounds

I am well overdue for updating the blog and I am very sorry but what can I said? People are demanding for my attention! Right let me just think back on what have been happening.... mmm ah yes.

It was about two weeks ago I believed, when I went for the hearing therapy to practice on sound and hearing speech. I had to do some book test to see if i follow the reader. I had no problem with this. I used to do this with me mam when I was young. Now then, Karen, my hearing therapy, was gonna make the test tougher for me. She gave me a sheet of paper with words that said.... "In the morning, I...." I had to listen to the rest of the sentence and repeat what was being said. I thought this may be too soon as I had my implant for at least over a month since the switch on. To my surprised, I actually passed my test 5 out of 5. I was amazed. I wish you have seen my face when I did it. I kept wondering how did this happened?

Later that week, Giles came along with me to Poulton-Le-Fylde where I grew up. I remember the village being so quiet, not much traffic around. Just the countryside. Nice and peaceful. All this with my hearing aids and now with the cochlear implant.... Well, its deffo not quiet at all! We walked around through many parks and I was hearing all sort of things that I could not pick my fingers on... What is that noise? I asked Giles. Giles then told me its the birds. We saw two little birds singing their little hearts out. They were really loud! If you are interesting in seeing what we get up to during our trip please click on this link "Our day out"

Another amazing things have happened. I went to the Ear Foundation in Nottingham with the rest of the Bionic Group as well all the other cochlear implantees and wannbe who I have met online for the first time. We have chatted about the experiences we had with the implant and to meet the experts who designed the Advanced Bionic (thats the product that I have) and Phonak who designed the hearing aids, wireless microphone and loop systems. Now then, I was really interested in wireless microphone FM which would be useful for me as I often meet my clients in noisy environment, or go to seminar where there would be so many people about and I need to hear small group of people. I am hoping to get one of those. Its not gonna be cheap!

Another equipment as Katie has mentioned on her blog about using the telephone. We learnt a new way to practice on the phone using the bluetooth ear hook. Its not attached to the mobile phone as the mobile phone do have bluetooth setting in them so this make it practical for people like us to use the phone and actually have conversation with someone. When I tried it out with a guy using another phone in the same room, he asked me to switch to T setting and see if I could pick up what he said. He turned around to avoid me cheating as I may lipsread him. So he asked "What are you having for dinner?" I repeat what he says. I was spotted on. I was amazed. People said that coz I had my implant for over a month and that it was too early for me to pick up anything on the phone. They were amazed that I've managed quite well.

I'm really pleased with the process that I have come so far. People may not realised how much effort we have to listen to everyday sound, the figure of speech and speak clearer as much as possible. I lipsread most of my life and still trying to break that habit. I will get there somehow.