Friday, 24 April 2009

Music through Cochlear implant

I know I love to talk about music and I have noticed this have been the top topic for people who are interesting what music would sound like through cochlear implant. Well after 4 months since the switch on, I can honestly tell you that the sound quality is getting better. I may not hear the best of a woman singer in high pitch any clearer but I have been force to listening to music without lyrics to follow the rhythm. The more that I would listen to the high pitch the better the sound quality will be. The brain needs to learn to get the rhythm perfectly. I wonder how long that will happen to me.

Recently I have been attending to the music concert for the Deaf held by the Ear Foundation sponsor by the Advanced Bionic. I was doing a job for them to capture the event. Some of the musicians are either: - deaf, deaf and blind as well hearing. They came to show people that they could play the music no matter what their disabilities are. We had a deaf and blind person, Russ Palmer, playing the piano and guitar. He undergoes an operation for cochlear implant in 2004 and carrying on with his music fearing he would lose the sound quality. For 5 years, he had been developing his singing tracks and his music so he could fulfill his musical ambition to hear and experience new sounds, as well to perform as a musical artist. I was amazed on how he played on stage. It was such a nice flowing gently rhythm.

(Russ Palmer)

Other deaf players are the band, The Deafness, from Mary Hare School. Mary Hare School is one of the well-known schools for the deaf in UK. I do not know much about the School myself, as I have never went to a Deaf school. The Deafness, were all played by deaf musicians playing, drum, bass, singer and backup singer. They have performance at the Royal Albert Hall, which was highly recommended in public by Ed Balls. They have also performed at the National School prom, Paul Weller, Sugergrass and Kate Tunstall. I wish them much luck for their successes.

The other musician is a hearing person who plays a flute. I am not trying to offend anyone but I do find it sound awful to me. I know its very high pitch and its sound to me as if it screaming my head out waiting to be exploded. Maybe it was out of tune? How do I know if its out of tune? Maybe its because my hearing range have not yet reach it level, maybe that I am not the only one who can’t stand the sound of the flute.

If you know any nice sample of what flute should sound, can you send me a link?

At least we know who is following my step! Cheers Katie!

Am I hearing right?

Do you ever wonder if you are hearing right or that when you have a little doubt that you may be missing out some sound that you once heard it before?

Whether you have recently lost your hearing or you just have cochlear implant, it is always useful to get yourself check out to make sure you are not missing out much. It might be because your device is slowing down that need repair or that you are not feeling ill, tired and often find people repeating the same sentence back to you. I may wear the cochlear implant after wearing them for 4 months and I still get people repeating themselves to me even though I heard them first time. Without getting myself annoyed, I often remind them that they repeat themselves how many times they have said it. Although, I have discovered that it will not make any difference. They still do it!

Maybe I was giving them a blank look without knowing what to say back and people often have to repeat themselves. Me mam often told me that I do that but how else do I respond???

Any advise anyone?

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

3 months on from the 1st switch on

I was meant to update my blog lately but March was an extremely busy month for me due to having to work many weddings and packing my stuff for moving houses. Let just go back to the day that I went for the 3rd month review.

My third month review went surprising well. I came in early as usual and went in to have my hearing therapy for them to see how I am coping with the general sound we hear everyday such as able to following a person reading out a book, repeating word after word, tell a different in pronouncing a word and to test my skill on the telephone. I may not be confidence on using the telephone but I gave a shot. Karen the hearing therapy staff told me she would said in context of time, day and a restaurant which could be anything. If I did not hear some of the word, she taught me to think step backward to find a way to get that person to repeat in different way.

This is an example:

Karen: Hi Amanda, Its Karen,
Amanda: Hi Karen, How are you?
Karen: I’m fine thanks and how are you?
Amanda: I’m fine, what are you up to?
Karen: I am thinking if we could go out for lunch this Tuesday at half 12, are you free?
Amanda: Lunch? This Tuesday? Yea sure! Where shall we go?
Karen: How about Pizza Express?
Amanda: I heard the Pizza but I’m not sure what you said the last bit. Its deffo not Hut though. Could you repeat that for me please?
Karen: Pizza Express
Amanda: No I am deffo not hearing what I think you are saying. Can I ask if it’s near the bus station?
Karen: Yes it’s near the bus station. Would you like me to meet you at the bus station?
Amanda: That would be great. I will see you there at 12.15pm is that ok?
Karen: That’s fine. See ya
Amanda: Bye

That was the end of our telephone test. I was surprised that I could actually following the conversation but that is just the beginning. I wonder if I would be able to follow the conversation without knowing what people would say. This would be a real test.

Then we went on to do the beeping sound and see if I respond as soon the beeps come.

Now that you can see how much things have improved. The average human hearing is between 0 dbl to 20 dbl. The Cochlear implant only programmed to reach up to 20dbl, which it’s pretty good in today technology. I am sure in future these will improve.

Lipreading and non-lipreading test is also part of the test. We used TV screen to watch a person and lip-read them to see how many words we can get. And for non lip reading, the TV screen is blank so we won’t cheat.
These are my result:

Lipreading test:
3 days after implant: 42%
3 months: 76%

Non-lipreading test:
3 days after implant: 6%
3 months: 52%

I’m really impressed that my non-lipreading has improved a lot and I am able to have conversation with people who I am familiar with, across the room without lipreading.