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...

This would have totally changed school for me…

The most difficult part of high school and even college for me was group discussions. I remember in English class when we would break into small groups my group was allowed to go work across the hall where there would be less background noise. It made it easier for me to hear but it was still difficult. And it was hard for anyone to understand just how much I missed because I always did fine in a one-on-one situation. These days kids grow up being on the internet and conversing by typed communication. It’s second nature to them, just like it became second nature to me when I first joined online discussions in 1996. I only knew 2 or 3 people who were online then who lived in the same city as me, not counting the chemistry teacher. 🙂 In college we...

Great customer service without the phone

Whenever I write about not using the phone people invariably ask me “can’t you hear on the phone with your CI?” or “Why not use VRS?” Honestly, it’s a habit I fell into years ago and haven’t gotten around to breaking yet because I prefer to be phone-less. That’s just me. Moving on… The curb in a parking lot decided to play tug-of-war with my car’s bumper today and pulled it right off. I figured I should try to get it put back on ASAP since it looks crazy and feels noisy and exposed without it. I was looking up the phone number for Don to call the car place and noticed a ‘live chat’ button on their site. That’s new. I was skeptical though, as in the past whenever I used their...

They’ve caught up! … to where I was Last year.

In the late 90s when DVD players proliferated the homes of my friends it became possible for me to watch movies with subtitles at the press of a button. Before that you were dependent on them to have a newish TV set (1993) and for the VHS tape to have captions that worked. Netflix made renting movies something you could do from your computer and the DVDs showed up in the mail a day or two later. Then a few years ago Netflix introduced instant streaming for some titles…. but there were no captions. Now, after hearing protests from people who need captions and subtitles and promising to deliver, there are quite a few movies on Netflix that have subtitles and captions. I only just realized this though myself. Why? Because I have an iPad and the Netflix...

Can you read lips?

All hard of hearing and deaf people learn to read lips. Or more accurately, we learn to take advantage of any and all visual cues to understand what we’re hearing. When I was in high school I had speech reading lessons once a week. A Teacher of the Deaf came to my school. She gave me a list of one syllable words that all had the same core sound. I remember ‘Ah as in father’ was one of the first ones. Then she would silently mouth a sentence that used one of those words. I didn’t have to tell her the whole sentence, I only had to guess which word I saw. As time went on I was getting the whole sentence almost half the time. She could always tell when I did because my face would light up with comprehension. I just came across this...

A year with bilateral cochlear implants

A year with bilateral cochlear implants

So now it’s 2011. I received my first CI in April 2009 and the second in late December 09 – so I’m officially over a year being bilateral. It’s been great. Life is good and pretty much what I’d call normal. I can hear a lot better in many situations. I find myself having one-on-one conversations in very noisy places (a Wine Guild holiday party with about 80 people in a small space – Don had a headache when we left from the noise!). I still participate a lot more if someone’s talking to ME specifically. One-on-one conversation guarantees this, but I’m finding that it happens more often now as a side conversation than it used to. For example, at lunch with a group of five people, I can switch between the main...

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