Saturday, May 21, 2005

Fine tuning

Another appointment in Halifax yesterday (Friday) to adjust and reprogram the CI processor. We loaded it up with three new programs (I ran through the last three in the first two weeks - hearing too well, I guess) and this time "Helen" also put me in the sound booth and tested my hearing.

My results were, according to her, "phenomenal". I sat in a chair in the soundproof booth facing a large speaker. (Because I have an implant we no longer use headphones, which is how most people are tested for hearing.) Helen sat on the other side of a soundproof glass window.

First she played tones and I raised my hand every time I heard one. Then she read a series of words (her mouth covered by a hand-held screen) and I repeated them.

Then she played a CD of a man speaking sentences. I was to repeat them back. I got all of those correct. Finally she played the same man speaking new sentences with background interference noise. I got all of 'em except part of one sentence. ("She's using her spoon to eat ice cream", he said. "She's using a ... steak... to ... something?" I said. What would one use a steak for? Does she have a black eye? Is she distracting guard dogs?) Out in the tester's area, where Husband was sitting watching Helen conduct the test, she mused to him, "This technology was designed for her."

After the test she showed me my audiogram. I am just below the low edge of the "normal" range of hearing. My audiogram trails off when we get to higher frequencies; I am not hearing those as well, which is a common phenomenon. We'll work to improve my hearing of those frequencies.

"Now, those notes you played," Husband said, "are they pure tones? Or are they modulated?" And they were off on another of their esoteric discussions of sound and sound theory that always baffle and amuse and please me (because I'd hate to think Husband was bored to tears at all these sessions he so patiently attends with me).

But the results continue to amaze and impress my team. In fact, things are going so well that we have the luxury of working on music appreciation in the future. Helen knows how much I love music and she said that I could bring a CD of something I am familiar with to one of our sessions and she would work with me to adjust one of the permanent, final "programs" to optimize my understanding of it. (She told me that, earlier that week, a guitarist who had gone deaf and received an implant had brought his guitar to a session because some of his chords "didn't sound right"; and they adjusted his CI until the chords he knew were correct on his freshly-professionally-tuned guitar sounded right to his now-professionally-tuned-ear.)

We stayed at what has become our favourite Halifax hotel, in the heart of the downtown core (of course). Best part of the trip was the car rental this time; a PT Cruiser Convertible, by far the most fun and drivable vehicle we've rented (identical to this one, actually, including purple paint job :) .) Great handling and just a zippy little drive on the highway, a lot of fun. We were both impressed, both of us being skeptical and having thought of the PT Cruiser as a bit of a ... novelty car. It was even warm enough today to cruise around Halifax with the top down. Much fun!



Anonymous Carl said...

You know, when I demanded that you have impossibly good results, I wasn't expecting this much obedience.

Do you hear a little twang-ang-ang-ang note trailing off, and does a camera zoom in on your bionic ear, every time you hear something unusual?

12:12 a.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Hey - you ask, I deliver :)

Keep asking, eh?

Actually, I do hear a little noise when I put the Ci processor on... it sounds like, "twang-doodle-twangtwang". I think that counts...
As for the camera zoom, I was wondering what that dolly unit was doing following me down the street...


10:43 p.m.  

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