Thursday, February 24, 2005

But what does it sound like?

One of the most interesting thing about CIs is that nobody who doesn't have one can really know what they sound like. Implant recipients have tried using all sorts of descriptive language to help the rest of us understand what it "sounds like" but the bottom line is, there is no way to really know how a recipient hears sound.

"A Sound Decision" is a website devoted to one man's CI journey. (It's pretty slick and I suspect it was developed by his CI manufacturer, but it is undeniably his story.) He has made a noble attempt to provide a window into what a sentence sounds like normally, then heard through CIs at several stages of the mapping process. The results - which you hearing folk can listen to - are here. I wish I could hear them before I had the operation, which is sort of circular thinking and makes me dizzy.

Clicking on the Journal link also brings up several photos of him pre- and post-op. While he looks remarkably sparky a couple of hours after waking up, the size of that incision is sobering.

It's a good site and worth a poke around if you're curious.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A Sound Decision" is a very interesting. I thought I'd try to convey my impressions of his various samples (as I'm sure your husband already has, but another perspective can't hurt). If reality comes close to this, you're in for a heck of a ride.

The first sample, "Beeps and Blips," sounds like a clicky cricket chirp. It does not sound like language, or even human. A little R2-D2-ish. If I'd signed up for an implant and this was the first thing I heard afterward, I think I'd be stunned and profoundly depressed.

The next sample, "Quacky Voice," is dramatically better. The sentence is clear, just high-pitched and hollow: like someone sucked down helium and is talking through a cardboard tube. I was surprised by how good this sounded in contrast to the first sample.

The final sample, "Clearer," is, well, clearer. The voice sounds natural but just a little flat and distant, like an old phonograph record. If you can achieve this quality (or even the quacky voice quality), I think that would be a fantastic result.

You'll find out whether the samples reflect your experience, but I hope my descriptions help. That first sample is pretty daunting.


12:32 p.m.  

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