I’ve been curious about the Sound and WAY Beyond auditory training from Cochlear (one of the 3 cochlear implant brands).Â Problem is, it’s $99 (maybe more since I’m not a Cochlear customer) and it doesn’t run on a Mac (believe it or not I’m not set up to run Windows on my Mac. I have never needed to!).Â I do have a PC laptop for work that I could use, but still, it’s a lot of money to spend for something that might not really fit my needs anyway.
So I was looking on the web for more information about this software when I came across something surprising.Â A Free Demo version that I could download!Â I’m not sure if this is an approved demo for distribution online or what the deal is, but I am very happy to have found it.
For more info check out this article, An Interview with VP for Consumer Affairs at Cochlear.
My thoughts on the product:
Any closed set sentences are too easy for me.Â I can tell sentence A from B or C or D.Â Words are a little harder, but still too easy if I’m given a choice to choose from.Â However, the software also provides Open sets where you have to type the sentence you think you heard or type the word.Â This is definitely harder and better practice for me.Â Sometimes I type the wrong spelling of the same word and lose points, but that’s just a minor annoyance.
I found the sounds on the training in the environmental sounds very very annoying and no way to say ‘ok, I get it! skip to the next one now!’
The music module is great too.Â I think it’s pretty optimistic sometimes, I have had ear training in music threory classes that was easier than some of the exercises.Â In one exercise they give you the starting pitch and you can choose if you want to hear one, two, three additional pitches.Â Then you have to write what yo hear on the staff.Â So it’s ear training and written training at the same time.Â There is also a ‘name the instrument’ after hearing just a single note.Â I can tell the piano from the others, but the violin and the trumpet recordings sound about the same to me, even with my hearing aid.
Bottom line, if they had a Mac version I would buy it, but since they don’t, the demo version that I can only use at work is really nice to have.Â It isn’t a very limited demo, except that the tests quit after 5 “questions” and take you back to the menu.Â It also will not save any statistics for you.