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Music lately

I can’t get myself to start typing this because I’m listening to music on my iPhone (built in iPod) and I’ve managed to load lyrics to almost all of my 1500 some songs.  If I type then I can’t read along and the lyrics get lost.

Music is sounding pretty good, even with just my CI.  The bass is a bit tinny… the vocals quite squawky, chipmunky but not high pitched. I can recognize Frank Sinatra as Frank Sinatra (very low voice).

Songs that I know really well sound the best. For the curious this includes all the songs from RENT, a few Moxy Fruvous CDs and a couple of Phish songs… But not the Damien Rice album I bought right before my surgery… and not any of the albums that came from Don’s CDs.

I’ve noticed in band as well as in recorded music that sustained notes will have a very accurate pitch, but short notes sound monotone.  If I know the song I don’t notice this too much though.  When the band plays a scale it sounds very monotone because the tones are far from pure with 90 of us playing at one time.  This takes me back to 5th grade band though and the first time we ever heard a band from sitting within the band… it was a new experience.

The Sound and Way Beyond aural rehabilitation DVD has a lot of music practice exercises.  I can’t hear the difference between notes closer than 2 semi-tones.  This means that when I’m playing in the wrong key I don’t notice at the first wrong note. But I use a million visual cues in band. I watch the fingers of the people next to me, I watch their toes, I watch the director, all while reading the music.  No wonder I miss the key change!  I’ve made a point to pay closer attention to them after missing every single one at one rehearsal.

Also on the Sound and Way Beyond DVD is a listening exercise that would be tricky with perfect hearing – it plays 2, 3, 4 notes and you have to choose what they are on the staff based on the starting note.  It would be better if you could experiment until you found the right interval by ear rather than getting just one guess and a right or wrong score.

Another music exercise involves identifying different musical instruments, but you’re supposed to be able to tell from one note if it’s a trumpet, piano, violin, etc.  I don’t know how good their recordings are.  I can hear the difference between them all, but I can’t easily pick out which one it is with just one note to hear, except maybe the piano.

I listen to music every day on my way to and from work in my car but of course that has a ton of background noise too from being on the road.

Bass is still a bit thin and rumbley rather than musical. I’m working on setting up a bilateral / bimodal headset. I ended up with 2 med-el direct input cables on accident somehow so instead of buying a bilateral one I’ll probably buy a $2 dual connector/splitter from radio shack and plug both into that. For some reason my FM system won’t consistently switch to direct input anymore, but I might be able to use it via bluetooth for my iphone now.

ETA: Ironically, one of the worst sounds for me right after activation was saxophones…  I have a ton of saxophone ensemble recordings that I know very well.  I’m happy to say that they are sounding Great now.  I’m currently listening to Beppo’s To Ballard by The Tiptons ( and it sounds almost as good as I remember.  Not a long memory as this was my newest CD…



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3 replies on “Music lately”

  1. Share

    Hi Sara,
    You are reminding me of the joys I had with bi-modal hearing, with my first CI and my remaining HA. It wasn’t perfect, but it was musical! I could hear the bass line with my HA, and the lyrics with my CI, so I could interpolate the sounds in between, especially where there was auditory memory. If it was a single voice, I could sing along and be *in tune* which I thought I had truly lost with my hearing going down.

    With continued hearing loss, I’ve had to give up that remaining HA, and it’s been really hard with music since getting the second cochlear implant. I can discern what instrument is playing (oboe vs clarinet vs bassoon; violin vs viola vs cello vs bass) but I cannot tell the melody any more. How’s that for odd? I can tell some ups and downs, but not really a string of them. The rhythm give me hints for songs I know; then I can kind of tell the melody is vaguely familiar.

    So I still love my solo cello with piano album, as the rich timbre of the instruments flow through my heart. I could not name the melody to save my life, but I can still enjoy it playing. And that is a gift to me as a (newly) totally deaf person.

    Enjoy your music! It is a blessing to be treasured. I am so happy for you.

    Liz Hupp’s last blog post: Poison, or Not

  2. Share

    It’s interesting reading this. My older daughter has conductive hearing loss in her right ear. She’s not wearing an aid at this point because, well, she’s a 10 year old girl and she doesn’t want one. (That’s a whole different issue… )

    We like to listen to music in the car, but the only way it works really well is for us is to balance the speakers so that they’re focused on her side of the car. Otherwise, the music would be so loud that it would be painful for the rest of us.

    I think when she does get a hearing aid (or we go the surgical route), it’s going to be an interesting adjustment for her, as she’s never had “stereo hearing” her entire life.

    Jen on the Edge’s last blog post: Even I’m not that unfashionable

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