My CI goes to the beach :-)

Portrait shot Barbara wearing Neptune processor on beach

First summer beach vacation with my cochlear implant.  I’m so happy to have the waterproof Neptune processor because I don’t have to worry about protecting my new equipment from the elements.  I even took a quick dip in the ocean with it on!  Although it’s not officially rated for salt water.  However, it continues to function so I don’t think any harm was done.  And I’m loving the off the ear design in hot sticky weather.  Much more comfortable I think.

Aside from the equipment itself, what’s different now?

  • The soft sand makes noise as I walk through it.
  • The sound of the waves is SO much louder than I knew!
  • I can hear the sounds of voices across the Provincetown Bay tidal flats.  I can’t understand what they’re saying but I am reminded that I’m not alone.
  • The beach umbrella flapping in a strong wind is loud.
  • Riding bikes with my sister I can hear what she’s saying, as she rides in front of me.  Sometimes.  This is an improvement.
  • I’m starting to hear differences in bird calls.  My sister points out the distinctive call of the cardinal.  Pretty cool.
  • I hear the sounds of gray seals just off shore at a National Seashore spot in Truro.  They sound funny.
Barb standing in front of Dunes at Truro

Barb in front of the Dunes at Truro


Aural Rehab Activities

Because I want to improve as quickly as I can I’m making an effort to do some rehab activities on a regular basis.  And while I think my rate of improvement with the implant may be to a large extent out of my hands, doing something gives me the illusion of some control.  I think it’s actually helping too 🙂

Here are some of the aurl rehabilitation tools I’ve been working with:

  • Advanced Bionics Listening Room: Teens and Adults.    You might have to create a login but  I don’t know that you need to be an AB user to take advantage of these resources.  Give it a shot if you’re interested.There’s a lot of different practice tools here.  Among the resources availalble is a pc based program for listening practice called CLIX. I plug in with my direct connect cable to use it.  There’s a placement test and exercises at various levels depending on how you score overall.  The general format is like a word recognition test.  You hear a word and then select the “correct” word from a grid with 4 choices.  However, unlike the word recognition at the audiologist, here you can repeat it.  Usage tip: To retake the placement test, on the Main Menu click on ‘Test – On Your Own’.  It looks like a column heading but it’s not.Overall I’m doing well with this tool.  However, I seem to have plateaued and I’m stuck on the last two levels, which I guess are the most difficult.  For the life of me, I can not reliably distinguish between cake/take, taste / paste,  knees / keys,  narc/ Mark.  I’m planning to take some notes to my next appointment with the audiologist.  I don’t know if I will improve with repetition and time or if I need adjustments in my programs.
  • Med-El  – Sentence Matrix.  I like that this tool is web-based and can be used from any computer.  There are various settings you can select such as male/female voice, slow-fast speech speed, and amount of background noise (none-high).  The voice says a sentence and you click on the words, which are laid out in a matrix with multiple choices per word in the sentence.  Usage tip: Click on More in the Sentence Matrix description block from the main page to start.
  • Cochlear America Telephone listening practice.  This one is very cool I think.  You dial a phone number and are able to do several listening activities and read along on the web site for the text.  Each day there is a new word list and small passage.  So far the passage texts have been excerpts from fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, which is fun.
  • HearCoach. A free app for iPhone.  It focuses on word recognition, with and without background noise, and number recognition.  There are multiple levels of difficulty for word recognition with high levels having increasing amounts of background noise.  I made it through a couple of levels but I’m at a point now where the background noise makes it ridiculously difficult for me and I think my score is just function of random guessing.  Hmm…  what to do, what to do.
  • Audio books.  Listen to an audio book while reading along on the hardcopy.  The recommendation is to start with a simple book, either children’s or young adult, something that’s familiar.  I’ve been trying to take advantage of the public library’s digital catalog to do this and use a kindle book plus audio book using 2 different programs on my laptop.  Finding both available simultaneously can be tricky.  My first book was Charlotte’s Web.  Now I’m working on adult fiction and mainly taking what’s available.  A friend at work loaned me the Hunger Games in both hardcopy and audio, which was my favorite so far.