Thursday, May 17, 2007

Processor Update!

I'm sorry it took me so long to get this posted...I got back home, had to run a couple errands, then the girls and I had to get ready for church. After church hubby and I talked a while...now he's asleep so I am on the pooter again :) I wasn't in a huge hurry to post it, anyhow...I wanted to wear it through church and see how it went...see what differences I could detect.
When Susan turned it on, immediately I could tell a difference in the quality of her voice. It sounded a tiny bit more natural ("natural" meaning "how I remember it", not necessarily how anyone else might perceive it). She put my first setting on HiRes P, my second setting on Fidelity 120, and my third setting on half T-coil, half Fidelity 120. I know it sounds like I know my stuff, but honestly, don't ask me what all those settings do. I think I'm fairly intelligent, but I like to learn complicated stuff slowly, and I'm still not up on how processors work. I think that David over at Hook Me Up and Michael Chorost have a lot of information on their blogs if you want to do more reading. I will probably brush up on it myself in a few days, but for now, what I know is that the F120 programming on the new Harmony processor is supposed to provide superior sound quality, and enhance both speech and music. Well, here's what I think.
After Susan set me up with HiRes P for my first program, she set up both the second and third programs, then we played with them for a few seconds. I had to get her to adjust the F120 settings because they were providing about more information than I was ready to handle at the moment. I told her that I was hearing something that I didn't remember hearing before: the "ch" (in "chips") and "sh" sounds, and even the occasional hiss of the "sssss" sound. I practiced my consonant sounds on the way home with the little girls (Ellie was trying to learn how to say "sushi" and I was able to tell just by listening if she was saying it correctly or not) and was pleased to notice that they sounded much clearer and crisper. If you've never had a hearing loss, you don't know what a big difference having consonants makes, but without them, words are just a jumble of sounds, with very few clues separating one word from another. Susan tweaked my program a bit so that the "ch"ing and "sh"ing wouldn't make me crazy...it's been a long time since I've had those sounds, and I've never had them anywhere near this clearly on that side, so we're starting slow and easy :)
The overall quality of sound seems a bit more....melodic, perhaps. I have always enjoyed listening to the inflections in peoples' voices and haven't really enjoyed listening to the dull drone of voices over the past month or so. The change wasn't a huge one, but enough so that I see great potential. Tonight at church I listened carefully to the singing and was happy to hear that even though for the biggest part the singing was distorted, at least some of the notes are sounding MORE like they used to.
For the past few weeks, if, say, perhaps, a note would be played on the piano....say, middle "C"...it never sounded anything near like what I remembered "C" sounding like...instead, it would sound like a dreadful robotic twanging of some sort. Just dreadful, to be honest. Tonight, if I heard "C", it wouldn't sound like "C", still, but it would be more melodic and somewhat less robotic....in my book, that's progress, and I'll take it :)
And lastly, on the way out, we stopped by the sound room for some basic tests. We didn't go through a huge slew of them, but I'm testing in the 30-40 dB loss range (if I remember correctly) for most frequencies....not too shabby. I know that I could score higher if I'd let Susan adjust my volume, but I'm still very sensitive to high volumes...they're physically uncomfortable...so I'll wait and adjust at my own pace :)
Susan also did the word test...basically, I was just supposed to push the button whenever I heard her say something. I got tickled, though, when I actually understood the words (at least the ones at a louder volume). That's still something that I'm not used to, and it always makes me smile when it happens. She said "Baseball" and I said, "I heard that, and by the way, you said "Baseball!!" Then she said "Hot dog", and I heard that too. I have to admit that "baseball" and "hot dog" are on "the list"...the list of words that I've been listening to in hearing tests for over 30 years...but I still heard them and understood them...cool!! :)
I go back in three weeks for another programming. I have found that I hear speech best when I'm in a totally soundproof environment, so I'm probably going to spend some time with my Harry Potter CDs in the next few days. If I hook my processor up to my "Direct connect", I can plug it up to the laptop and listen to Harry while I pooter. I can turn it up as loud as I want, and nobody can hear it but me....and I can't hear anything but Harry. The interesting thing is that none of the sound will actually travel through my ear canal: this is all electronic, and it all travels by radio waves directly to my brain. Bionic woman, I am!
Susan told me today that BlueCross is purportedly rewriting their policy to include bilateral cochlear implants for adults, but that they don't plan to have this policy change in effect until August of this year, and in the meantime, they appear to be balking mightily at covering a second implant. So the plan for now is to keep appealing until the policy changes, if we have to wait that long...if we can't get it done before August, we're going to be really pushy the minute that policy changes :) This might be what I need, though...time to learn to hear with the ear I've got. :)
I'll keep you updated more as I learn more about this processor...but tonight, I'm going to bed :)
I'm plumb wore out....Love you all :) <3

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