sajego: (Default)

It’s been a lovely lovely spring the last few days.

The tulips and flocks have been out.

IMG_8276 IMG_8265
Sunny Mowing It's alive!

Betsie has been keeping the lawn mowed short.  Even the baby white clover I planted for her to chew on is doing great.  I just scattered it around by hand - we’ll find out soon if this was a bad idea or not.  I’m just happy that something is growing in that bare dirt shady area!

Our new deck furniture is just wonderful despite being covered in pollen at the moment - this puts us about 3 weeks behind the folks in Chapel Hill, NC as they had excess pollen when we visited.

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

Lilacs

Apr. 17th, 2009 08:41 am
sajego: (Default)

Lilacs
Originally uploaded by sajego

Growing up in upstate New York  one of the surest signs of spring was the lilacs blooming.  Rochester even has a festival celebrating lilacs (http://www.lilacfestival.com/) but it won’t start until the 2nd week of May.  Here in Virginia there are so many spring flowers.  In March we had daffodiles and the earliest flowering trees. Now those are gone and the azaleas are starting to bloom.  The red bud trees flower all over in the woods but will soon be gone.  It was nice to run into a couple of lilac bushes on my walk at lunch today.  I’ll have to see if I can figure out where to plant one.

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

When I took the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam in October 2007 I requested special accommodations. I didn’t know if I would need them, but figured since the process to request them was in place I might as well try it. What did I ask for? I asked to sit in the front row so I could see the exam proctor easier and also requested a copy of any instructions so I could read them. Simple enough, you’d think.

When I got to the exam nobody knew why I didn’t have a seat number on my admission ticket. They finally found the head proctor who brought me to the front, and had me sit at a table In Front Of the front row. It was so far to the front that it was practically Behind the Podium! I tried to tell them I wanted to sit in the front row, not in front of the front row by myself, but they couldn’t let me do that since all the other seats had been numbered and assigned ahead of time. They said I could move my table wherever I wanted, but that was it. It was a nuissance and embarrassing and not helpful at all since I was straining my neck to see the person reading the instructions when she was next to and behind where I was sitting.

I’ve actually found that the 2nd row is usually the best place to sit because people avoid the first row and the speaker wanders back behind the front row.

Anyway - why am I thinking about this now? Because I’m taking the Principles and Practices of Engineering exam (the PE) in 2.5 weeks and I just got a phone call message from someone who wants me to call him. “please call me regarding pe exam in april and special seating my name is adam” was the message I got. This is despite the fact that all the exam paperwork says that accommodations must be requested for Every test you take separately. I didn’t request anything and seeing as how it went last time I don’t plan to. I don’t need to hear them drawl on about the exam. I suppose since they contacted me I should share what I’ve written here and help them improve their process for next time. It’s just a pain to be singled out on a day that you’re nervous about facing an 8 hour exam anyway.

ETA: Not to mention I had to provide a letter from a medical professional in order to get special seating last time!

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

I was messing around with Google Docs today and decided to make a Google Docs Form that could let anyone who wanted to share their audiogram and see how it relates to others. Then I started playing with Google Docs charts and came up with a way to display the data. I found lots of limitations, like I had to make the dBs negative to have the scale go from top to bottom instead of bottom to top.

Not sure what my plans for this are, but feel free to fill out the form. :)

http://www.sarasera.com/?page_id=144

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

Another work trip
Originally uploaded by sajego

First gorgeous day at home since February and I spent it traveling. There was even snow on the ground here to greet me. How nice!

I’m in the great state of Illinois to do some acoustical testing for our insulation research project. The material is very good fire insulation but we need to know how it does with sound too. I’ve done a dozen fire tests now but this is my first acoustic test. I find it a comfortable area though since I’m familiar with decibels and frequency charts. Instead of speech recognition we test transmission, ie sound passing through it and absorption, ie how it stops sound bouncing around.

I’m not sure what the sounds sound like yet. I’d guess some high tech noise of many frequencies, but maybe they do it at various frequencies separately. (Maybe I should do my homework tonight and read the test
 procedure.)

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

Earth Hour

Mar. 28th, 2009 05:59 pm
sajego: (Default)

Earth Hour
Originally uploaded by sajego

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

The other kitty
Originally uploaded by sajego

So that he won’t feel left out: this is Tayden. A week from now he will look quite a bit different as he gets his annual hair cut next Friday.

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

They are great to sleep on.

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

Benefits of EAS

Originally uploaded by sajego

This chart is from a paper I just read. It basically shows that in their study people with a CI benefited quite a bit from using a hearing aid in the unimplanted ear, even with hearing only at 125 Hz.

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

I was looking for a good ‘what is a CI’ video and came across a press release from last week that talks about Med-El’s new SoundScape listening practice.  I don’t have my headphones with me at work today, but it looks like it would be useful and fun.

http://www.medel.com/US/Rehabilitation/sound-scape.php

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

In the past few weeks since I started this blog and really started looking for other CIers to connect with I’ve been amazed at how many people are in the same place I am.  Surgery dates a week before mine, or people visiting the same CI center I am.  People who went ot the same college as me, or people who have shared a similar existence.

Different experiences too.  Two people I talk to on IM are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  One is a girl who is hearing and wants to be (and will be!) part of the Deaf Community.  The other is a guy who is oral, knows no sign, and yet doesn’t think CIs are a better solution than hearing aids.  I know you’ll both read this :) so, thanks for being a friend and sharing my moments with me.

For the first time in my blogging history I feel like making a “blogroll” list of people I not only read, but connect with.  I always felt that we all have RSS readers, why do we need a blogroll?  And yet, I want to share not just my story, but the story of my new friends with other readers.

It feels like we’re all part of some class or grade. Those of us getting our first CI now are the incoming freshmen. Those of you who have had yours for a while are upper classmen. Bilateral CI users are a different class, and children with CIs will be the AP students by the time they are old enough to read and write blogs.

Sometimes I have felt left out of the whole CI thing happening.  I saw connections like this formed among people of last year’s class or the year before.  It’s amazing that it’s me now.

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

I read these sometime last fall I think:
http://www.hearingresearch.org/Dr.Ross/CI-one.htm
 http://www.hearingresearch.org/Dr.Ross/CI-two.htm

I was also particularly interested in his experiences with a CI to hear music. Unfortunately it wasn’t that encouraging.
You can find those and all of his articles on hearing loss here:
 http://www.hearingresearch.org/ross.htm

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

Here is the audiogram from my CI evaluation at UNC on March 2nd.

audiogram2009-03-02

It clearly shows my right ear (Os) versus my left ear (Xs).  And shows that above 2000 Hz there was no response.  That’s one change in the last 10 years - I used to have a response at 3000 Hz.  (Edited to add: Maybe not, the only audiogram I have that shows a response at 3000 Hz was in 2006 when he tested down to 120 dB).

Also to note, the (Ag) marks are With my hearing aids.  Normal hearing would be anywhere from 0Hz to 25Hz.  I think my hearing aids could probably be boosted a bit to help with the ranges that I can hear.  It seems like needing 50dB at 1500 Hz and 65 dB at 2000 Hz isn’t helping me a lot.  I’m planning to get someone to adjust my left hearing aid for me following surgery, and the right one too if I have any residual hearing left in the implanted ear.  I think I can wear the shoulder / sports CI processor with my current BTE aid to see if I like how that sounds.  If I do prefer that setup I will look into an in the ear aid to use with the CI processor - or maybe the FDA will approve MedEl’s DUET and I can get one of those instead.  Doesn’t seem likely to happen for a while though.  Anyone have any updates?

As for speech discrimination, the audiologists didn’t include my bilateral scores on the sheets they gave me.  They said this is because they were too high on HINT sentences in quiet (I think 60%).

For individual ears they included these results:

speech1

speech2

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

This looks like a really great set of listening activities - http://www.hearingjourney.com/Listening_Room/Teens_and_Adults/Listening_Gym/index.cfm?langid=1

I like the idea of being able to call a number and listen to a recording to practice using the phone.  I’m glad that the professional engineering exam that I am taking will be completely done before my surgery.  I have enough distractions from studying for the exam already.

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

I owe a post that discusses EAS (electrical acoustic stimulation) and my CI journey so far.  When I discussed my reasons for visiting UNC Chapel Hill (almost 4 hours from home) with the surgeon there we agreed that since I came that far seeking information about “hearing preservation” that we should go that route.  By that point I wasn’t sure I really cared much about preserving hearing in my worse (right) ear, I just knew I wanted to benefit from a CI.  I was surprised that the fact that I did not qualify for the MedEl hybrid CI trial didn’t mean we couldn’t try for hearing preservation and electric-acoustic stimulation as the end result.

How does that work?  Well aparently MedEl has another electrode that is already FDA approved that allows a chance for hearing to be preserved.  I’d get that electrode with their normal CI implant and normal processor.  Then if a new hearing test showed that I still had usable low-frequency hearing I could wear a hearing aid too.  So if that happens I may be in the market for an in the ear hearing aid.  In the mean time I think I can wear the MedEl ’sports’ processor that pins to your shoulder along with my current BTE.

This article has a good summary of EAS. http://www.asha.org/about/publications/leader-online/archives/2007/071016/f071016c.htm

So is this other electrode going to prohibit from full use of the CI?  Probably not really.  It just isn’t the extra long electrode that MedEl normally uses.

Hearing preservation with a cochlear implant is also possible with a conventional long electrode array. It had been assumed that any residual hearing in the implanted ear would be sacrificed due to surgical trauma; however, in some instances, this is no longer the case. Increasingly skilled surgeons employing soft surgical techniques—which may include a smaller cochleostomy or round window insertion and more careful electrode insertion—with thinner electrode arrays and/or perimodiolar electrodes (which also may allow for a relatively atraumatic cochlear insertion) have all helped contribute to hearing preservation with standard cochlear implants.

That article also mentions using a BAHA type hearing aid after a CI. Interesting.  Not sure my better ear is good enough to bother with that.  There’s an article about that here.

Time to get back to work.  Playing catch up on everything after a week out of town.

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

It was only a few weeks ago that my boss at work asked me what frequency an octave is.  We were planning to do an acoustical test for some fire insulation and it came up in the discussion.  He figured as a musician I would know.  Never having studied acoustics, I didn’t, but Google did of course.  An octave is a doubling in frequency.

Right after I looked this up I received a package from UNC with all the different CI literature in it.  It talked about frequencies and the piano keyboard and frequencies and the cochlea.  So interesting.

In all these years I hadn’t really thought about my audiogram and a piano keyboard.  Looking at my audiogram it looks like my hearing vanishes somewhere between 1000 and 2000 Hz.  1000 Hz is C6 - 2 octaves above Middle C.  Yeah, that sounds about right from my memory of playing with a keyboard.

This page has a list of all the notes and their frequency and wavelength: Frequencies of Musical Notes

And this page has a Flash keyboard to play with: Flash Piano - the Method Behind the Music

Edited to Add: Here’s an even better piano to play with that goes from C2 to C7. Virtual Piano: Online music innovation at its best

I was looking for a piano online that went above C6 but haven’t found one yet.  In Garage Band on my Mac however there is one that goes from C2 to C8 (except it has middle C as C3?! let’s ignore that).  Above C6 (1000 Hz) notes do not sound distinctly different to me, and above C7 (2000 Hz) I can’t hear much beyond the F (2800 Hz).

What does all that mean to a non-musician, or non-piano player? Well Middle C is an easy note for men and women to sing. High for men, low for women, but not a stretch for either gender.  C6 is a very high note for a woman to try to sing, I think A5 was the highest note I ever saw as a soprano in choir.

What does all this mean to me in my cochlear implant journey?  Well it means that the human singing voice, and I suppose the frequency range of most instruments in a band (minus piccolo!) are less than 1000 Hz and thus in the range of what I can hear with my hearing aids.  Wait, really?  So why get a cochlear implant if you can already hear everything?  It all comes back to understanding speech.

Here’s the speech banana:

graph known as the speech banana

If you look at the line from 1000 Hz at the top down - anything to the right is what I can’t hear, even with a hearing aid. I’m deaf in those frequencies.  A CI helps a lot with those frequencies, but can often make the frequencies below 1000 Hz sound strange or at least different. How strange and different? I can’t tell you that as I haven’t experienced it.

Traditionally a cochlear implant meant that you would lose all hearing that you had left.  It would be replaced by hearing through the implant.  The new technology known as the hybrid implant, or electric-acoustic stimulation (EAS) tries to preserve residual hearing so that you can continue to use a hearing aid for the low frequencies and add the high frequencies through the CI.  I promise I’ll write more about this next time.

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

I liked this post a lot:

http://bionic-kate.livejournal.com/10614.html

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

I’ve been reading a lot of new blogs lately, a lot of them written by other people about their cochlear implant experiences.  I love random web surfing so I don’t remember how I found most things.  When I end up with a couple dozen tabs open in Firefox I try to add blogs to Google Reader and sites to Delicious so I can find things again.

I’ve been looking at a couple of sites this evening that are interesting enough to share.

http://www.esl-lab.com/ is a site with many recordings and quizes.  I’ve found that with the “Easy” listening exercises if I read the questions first I can score pretty well on the tests.  I’m definitely not understanding more than 20-30% though.  Just listing for the answers to the questions.  It’s amazing how easy it is to understand when I go back and read the transcript.  The harder exercises left me completely lost.

I was reading another site and wanted to share their sound file examples here.

If you have ever wondered what having a hearing loss is like for me, listen to the first two sound files:

Sound #1

Sound #2

The first represents normal hearing (for those of you who need help, the sentence is “She’s drinking from her own cup.”) the second represents a severe/profound hearing loss similar to mine that is amplified with hearing aids.

To me, the second one sounds almost identical to the first one (I can tell there is a P sound missing from the end of CUP on the second).  I’ve experienced this before.  Back in high school we would request a meeting at the beginning of the year with all my teacher to talk to them about my hearing loss.  My audiologist came to one or two of these and she brought a cassette tape that had examples like this on it.  I remember my French teacher, Mrs. Anderson, thought that a recording like the second one was how I hear without hearing aids, she couldn’t believe that no, that is what I hear WITH hearing aids.  Without hearing aids I don’t hear much of anything.

The other three sound clips on that site have to do with hearing with a CI. All the sound clips are here: http://www.cochlear-implants.net/cochlear_implants/ci_soundfiles.htm

I can tell that the quacky voice one is indeed quacky.  The last one sounds a bit off to me, but I can’t tell you why.  Don says it sounds perfectly clear, and if that’s how I can hear with a CI, compared to the second clip, then that’s an amazing improvement.  We shall see.  It is hard to trust any of these sites completely because everyone’s experiences are different. Not to mention changes to technology.

Originally published at Sarasera. You can comment here or there.

sajego: (Default)

Originally published at Sarasera. Please leave any comments there.

sajego: (Default)

I’ve started this post twice now and it has morphed into something else… Let’s try again.

There are lots of reasons to get a cochlear implant. There are also many people who will be happy to go on and on about the reasons not to get one, or more specifically why you shouldn’t get one for your 12 month old child. I’m not getting into that.  This is about My reasons.

As I said in the last post, I had a CI evaluation done about two years ago and decided not to do it.  Why?

Well, I am getting by quite well just as things are now thank you very much.

Big reason number one has to do with that too. A cochlear implant will destroy any residual hearing you have left.  If I’m getting by fine now, why would I make such a permanent change?

Reason number two goes like this:

“I have but a mere ten electrons that replace the 180,000 some hair cells that at one time did the job of firing sound at my auditory nerves.” - David at Five String Guitar (but not the first time I’ve seen that thought expressed)

Research is slowly unraveling how the ears work.  Hearing aids are no where near as effective as glasses are. Cochlear implants are even more mysterious.

Another reason, that middle-ear-implant I wrote about before. It doesn’t use a microphone, it is totally implantable.  I don’t care about invisible, but waterproof sure is nice!  They are trying to get it to work with a cochlear implant eventually.

Another reason, stem cell research. They should have a cure for deafness in the next 15-20 years or so.  What if getting a CI damages your ear so much that you can’t benefit from this?

My biggest reason though is that I’m a musician.  I started playing alto saxophone in 5th grade and played for four years before I lost my hearing.  I am still playing now.  I play in a band weekly and for the last year I’ve also been playing in a saxophone septet. It’s a hobby that requires a commitment so I try to go to rehearsals whenever I can.  I listen to music in the car on the way to and from work. I truly enjoy music. What if a CI makes it sound awful? I’ve heard that it’s hard to even recognize different notes on a piano, how would I ever be able to tune?

Just recently I was looking into new technology known as a Hybrid Cochlear Implant.  The technical name is “Acoustic-Electrical Stimulation”.  The idea is that a short electrode is used for the CI that doesn’t damage low frequency hearing. Thus you can use the CI for the high frequencies and use the hearing aid for the low frequencies.  The benefit may be a more natural sound.  It’s still in FDA trials.

I sent an email to the company, Med-El, to ask about their trials.  One more surprise waited for me in their answer.  They told me that my hearing loss was too profound for even a hybrid CI.

Wow.

Once again I’m wondering, am I really That deaf?

Originally published at Sarasera. Please leave any comments there.

Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 06:43 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios