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Day 36: ClearVoice…

November 22, 2013

On Wednesday this week (Day 34), I had another tuning session with the audiologist which overall went really well! I came out smiling and actively listening as though my life depended on it. Everything sounds so much better compared to where I was in the beginning or even week 2 following the switch on. The main difference has been that people (including myself) no longer sound like they have a cold, something that I had been experiencing prior to the appointment on Wednesday.

So what changed? My Audiologist randomly asked me if I wanted anything done in terms of listening to music; I said I had no idea as I’d no clue what the new strategy can do for me in terms of music but I was keen to find out. We discussed how I currently listen to music and how well I perceive the musicality of a track. This conversation helped us realise that I was on an input setting of 50/50 (50% Aux, 50% T-Mic) which I’d had previously that allowed me to listen to music on the go via an auxiliary cable connected directly to the sound processor. Depending on the setting, I would be able to listen to music without interference from background noises around me or noises in general.

I’d stopped using the auxiliary cable some time ago as I found it a bit fiddly to pull out the T-mic, screw in the aux cable and when I wanted to stop listening to music and rejoin society, I’d have to pull out the aux cable and screw the T-mic back in! Ain’t nobody got time for that…! By some chance, I discovered I could fit my Samsung earphones directly at the mouth of the T-mic, similar to what is described here (I only discovered this tip online recently, long after I had already adopted this method for using earphones) and listen to music with ease and very little interference from surrounding sounds.
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So that’s how I began listening to music on the go without the aux cable. I completely forgot about this 50/50 setting I had been given until this session with the audiologist.
I asked her to remove the 50/50 setting and instead have me 100% on the T-mic. It was following this change that soundly sounds were clearer and I (nor others) no longer sounded like we had a cold! It was beautiful! And I found myself commenting to my audiologist that honestly things were sounding like they did on the old CI! I was happy.

Following that, we tried various things; but the key thing I left with was ClearVoice. I’d heard about this initially via Tina’s blog and read it on Advanced Bionic’s website but never could have the privilege of experiencing what it was due to my old CI. Finally though, here was my chance. My audiologist switched on ClearVoice and downloaded it into one of 3 programmes on my processor.

The thing about CV is that in a noisy environment, when it detects spikes in the background noise, it automatically chops off the level of the sounds so that it isn’t so loud (depending on whether CV has been set to low, medium or high. If set to high, it will greatly reduce the level of background noise to a low muffled sound). But if you are with someone or in the company of people talking, the sound of their voices would still be audible to you in spite of the background noise. Genius, huh? I know a few hearing people who would love this themselves! Finally it seemed the prospect of listening in social environments like a restaurant would no longer be daunting. I couldn’t wait to leave and experience CV.

It’s been 2 days now I’ve been on CV and I am finding it increasingly useful. The minute I walked out of the hospital, the sound of traffic I’d heard momentarily a few seconds earlier was reduced to a gentle roar (ClearVoice is set to medium for me). It was peaceful! Then suddenly I clearly heard the voice of someone behind me who started talking on their phone and I turned, startled. I couldn’t believe how clearly it sounded standing next to the road heavy with traffic noise! You can imagine the smile that lit up my face right then.

My experience of CV didn’t stop there; it continued underground on the train where I realised I could hear the voices of the two ladies sat across from me well enough to lipread them if I wanted to know what they were saying. Or the gentlemen who got on at Moorgate Station and I could hear them talking. Usually hearing voices on the train underground has been a big challenge especially if I am trying to have a conversation with someone. The background noise is too much! But with CV, I was beginning to feel that would now be a thing of the past!

We are not quite there yet, but things are better. There are still some things I don’t like and I am trying to make note of these things I notice when I am actively listening so that at my next tuning appointment, I can discuss with my Audiologist and hopefully do something about it. Compared to the first time I was implanted, this time I feel like I am taking charge of my hearing and making the journey second time around one that I am truly going to love and hopefully come out of it with flying colours!

Doose
Chronicles of a Bionic Woman

                                  “Life: Enjoy every minute of it!”

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