TED Talk on Cochlear Implants and Music
I have a lot of work to do this time of year, but wanted to post my first thoughts on this TED video.
First – no captions yet! gah! I can understand the main speaker, but the video clips aren’t clear enough to hear.
Second – I’m entirely happy with my two CIs. It’s been almost 2 years since the second one was activated and this is definitely my new normal and I wouldn’t go back to hearing aids if given a chance.
Third – I’m still playing saxophone in the sax sextet and in the band. We often play music in the house from Pandora, usually classical or jazz. Music I know well sounds the same as I remember it (because I’m remembering it), music that’s new to me starts out a bit muddled but becomes clearer with repeat listening (kind of like band, but there I’d expect it’s people learning their parts instead). I hear different things than I did with just hearing aids. I hear less of myself, and a little less of the people on either side of me. More of the trumpets, much more of the percussion, and Piccolos! There are definitely moments of beauty and emotion.
That said, you’ll see in this TED Talk video that cochlear implants are designed for speech and don’t do a very good job with music.
Embed code not working, so here’s a link to the video:
As happy as I am with my CIs, I really do agree with this video.
If you watched the video you’re probably wondering what I thought of the sound clips.
There are some sound clips in the video that portray music which sounds badly if you have normal hearing… I can’t really tell it sounds bad, in fact, the first clip of the MIDI file with pitches moved a semi-tone – sounds the same to me as the original. The trumpet clip vs violin – very similar, the violin had more vibrato, both sound a bit synthetic to me still – like the trumpet sound on electronic keyboards from the early 1990s. The clips of the Usher song, well, I can tell the difference between those… not sure either one sounds great, the second lacked percussion which seems more like a hearing aid issue than a CI issue.
I’m curious to hear what others think and encourage those with CIs to watch the video and then share here or in the comments on the TED page.