Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jamming on the Electric Piano

Okay, I have a confession to make. I have not been using my Cochlear Implant on my new noisy setting very much. The noise level is too loud and makes sound comprehension extremely difficult, even of things I should hear in my right ear. When my CI is on, I can no longer understand people speaking.

I am using the new setting in quiet places, but even then, I am overcome by sound. It is not so loud that it hurts, but it is like listening to clanging cymbals and blaring whistles all the time.

I got an idea for a controlled test. I cranked up the electronic piano program on my laptop. With my cochlear implant plugged in, I played through the scale on a few different instruments. Here is what I discovered.

Out of the five octaves available, for most instruments, I could hear the scale correctly on the lowest two octaves. The top two octaves were noisy and indistinguishable. The middle octave was good for some instruments, but noisy for most.

On the lowest octave, I can play songs like “Mary had a little lamb” and appreciate the tune. The instruments do not sound right, but they are in the right key. Strangely, the one that sounded the most “correct” was the one called “synth voice.”

I don’t understand CI programming, but I am going to talk to my audiologist about reducing the higher pitches. Even the crinkling of candy wrappers is astoundingly loud. The high pitches swallow up all the meaningful sounds. They mask everything. The lower frequencies are meaningful, but seem too low in volume and can’t compete with higher pitches.

Anyhow, another week, more improvement. I am pleased.

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