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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.

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

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Where does the time go?

From the Monticello Naturalization Ceremony on July 4, 2008

July 4th weekend my parents stopped to visit us here in Charlottesville.  I had a band concert that Thursday night and another on the morning of the Fourth of July at Monticello.  It’s always moving to see the naturalization ceremony conducted.  Last year the guest speaker was the president (which one? not important. ;) ) and security was tight. The helicopters flew right over our house to land at Monticello and the band had to be there hours and hours early.  This year was much more calm.  My parents and I actually drove ourselves and parked at the visitor center.

By the end of that concert a lot of us were quite burned out on marches. Especially Sousa!  But the audiences were very appreciative.

IMG_1611.JPGIt wasn’t very hot here that weekend, but we decided to spend and afternoon hiking around Sugar Hollow reservoir which features several good swimming holes.  I ended up not swimming.  The water was cold!  But the hike was lovely and the crowd of people swinging on the rope into the water was entertaining

More music happen that Monday! CASE played a gig at a local assisted living center.

After my parents left I only had 3 days of work before my “long weekend” trip to Maine with Don to visit his family.

His family lives in the area known as Down East Maine.  We had an easy and short flight from Charlottesville (CHO) through Philadelphia to Bangor.  All together it was only 3.5 hours from take off to getting the rental car.  Amazing.  I’m used to trips taking at least 6 hours and usually more.  Once we arrived in Bangor we still had 2 hours of driving to get to where Don’s family lives, but that is a fun part of the trip.

It was about lunch time so we stopped for… lobster rolls!  Of course!  There’s a road side ice cream stand snack shop that looks just like the ones you’d find anywhere else, except they have the Maine specialty.  So good.

We also stopped at a grocery store and stocked up on wine.

Don’s family own a camp on a small lake that is about half an hour from their house.  The camp is fully equipped, just isn’t insulated enough to be used except when it’s warm outside. I love coming up here because it is just so beautiful and peaceful. The sun rises at 5:00 am and the camp has a clear view straight North which means this time of year you get sunlight most of the day. Early to bed and early to rise is the motto when we’re there and sleeping in means staying in bed past 7!  I was also asleep by 10 every night.

We visited the beach, watched lots of sunsets, swatted mosquitoes, and of course, ate more lobster.

IMG_1747 IMG_1751 More Maine Lobsters

On a hearing related note, everyone up there seemed to be talking very loud all of the time.  If I wasn’t 2 months post activation with my cochlear implant I don’t think I would have been able to cope.  As it was, taking off my CI and hearing aid to go swimming did not bother me At All.

IMG_1681 IMG_1682

Nieces and Nephew – Aren’t they cute? :)

Don’s dad is planning on getting hearing aids soon. Apparently he has been turning the TV up louder and louder and was told he should have his hearing checked. I’m curious to see how he does with them. I won’t be surprised if he enjoys slipping back into silence quite often.

So we swam in the lake every day in Maine. I took my shorty wetsuit and the kids picked on me about looking like I was going diving.  But hey, I stayed much warmer than in previous years.  When it’s barely 70 degrees out and the water is about that temperature it’s nice to have some extra warmth.


Now we are back home and I have just three weeks until my next fun adventure. In the mean time I’m waiting to see how many trips I can be sent on for work in that time. One, Two, or hopefully None.

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

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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

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

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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.

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They are great to sleep on.

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

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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)

Until I was 14 I had perfectly normal hearing. That October, it was 1993, I had a minor cold (really more like “sick of school”) and that led to a stuffy feeling and a very loud ringing in my ears. I went back to school after the weekend and things sounded very odd… a stuffy, underwater, echoy, type sound. And quiet sounds weren’t audible at all.

I’ll skip describing the doctor visits and hospital time and steroids and stuff for now and say that I ended up with a moderate to severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. The ENT didn’t want me to have amplification because he was afraid it might damage my hearing more, so we held off until late December to get hearing aids. I had tutors teach me at home for those weeks before I got hearing aids. I loved that

My audiologist was wonderful, we would talk for a long time after finishing testing since I usually saw her at the end of the day. My speech discrimination was very high for my hearing loss. My hearing aids worked well until the next August when my loss dropped suddenly to a moderate to profound level. I figured something was wrong with my hearing aids, but nope. I think that happening now would affect me more than it did then. I just got stronger hearing aids.

In high school I had my class mates take notes for me, and apart from a few troublesome teachers things weren’t much different. I sat in the front of the class. I got good grades and graduated 4th out of 140 or so.

In 10th grade (or was it 11th?) I decided I wanted to study mechanical engineering so I could be a rollercoaster designer. I went to visit an open house at NTID at RIT in Rochester, NY. All day long I had to tell people they needed to speak to me as I didn’t know sign language. They were all happy to do that and made it effortless to communicate. It was such an amazing trip! I was ready to enroll that day but had years of high school left to finish. I did a week-long summer program at NTID in 1996 going into my senior year. That was my first immersion in deaf culture. It was interesting to say the least.

To sum up, I’ve had experiences with deaf culture, especially in college, but for the most part my friends are hearing and I depend on lipreading. I work as an engineer, but not designing rollercoasters. Most people who know me say that they forget that I’m deaf, or they don’t believe that I am really. Or you know, their great aunt wears a hearing aid, so they’re used to it. And that’s fine.

On the other side, I’ve found that when people are told ahead of time that I’m deaf they will overcompensate, either by trying to sign, or by raising their voices way too loud. What should they do? Well, mostly just make sure they’re facing me when they talk, and if my answer doesn’t make sense I probably guessed wrong at what you said, just repeat it for me. And don’t expect me to be able to follow a group conversation with ease unless I’m leading it. :)

Originally published at Sarasera. Please leave any comments there.

December 2011



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