Can you hear this?

22 06 2010

How good is your hearing? Tee hee. This one’s a damn sight more interesting than the RNID hearing test.

This link takes you to a simple hearing test. Can you hear this? I thought this is an interesting one to do with a new cochlear implant. The site has a list of tones that go from 8Hz to 22,000Hz. It’s usual for people over 25 to not be able to hear above 15kHz. What Hz can you hear up to, or can you hear all of them? I was able to hear all of them. Woo woo! I thought 19, 20 and 21 kHz sounded horrific – I could practically feel them. They all sounded similar after 8Khz as the implant is only capable of a maximum 9Khz stimulation, but I was certainly picking up the sampling.

It is known that listening to iPods at loud volumes for long periods of time can damage your hearing to a profound level and permanently. It’s nice that I don’t have to worry about that one anymore. As we age, we naturally lose our high frequency hearing gradually. This is why, sometimes, you walk in on your mother and she has the TV on full blast and asks you to speak up as she can’t hear you (or the TV). Then swears blind that she doesn’t have a hearing problem.

It can be difficult to differentiate between loudness levels with a cochlear implant. My perception of sounds are different as they are new and so seem much louder. Turning the pages of a book seems louder than a speaking voice.  A ticking clock seems as loud as chucking a book on a table. It’s hard work listening to all this over-stimulation! This test has a series of sine waves – can you hear which is louder? I was very happy to be able to get Q1 and Q3 correct.

Here’s a harder test. Can you tell the difference between two MP3 sound clips, one recorded at 320kbps and the other at 128kbps in this MP3 sound quality test? Nope, I couldn’t tell the difference either!

On the subject of music, there is a new site for research into cochlear implants and music appreciation – swing right on over to Hearing Organised Sound.

And finally, here’s something for you hearies (and interested deafies). I discovered a hearing loss simulation for a cochlear implant and a hearing aid. A bit of environmental sound, a bit of speech, a bit of music. To me, a new kid on the cochlear implant block, and very used to using hearing aids, they sound like pretty accurate simulations. What do you think?

Time to get back to the headphones and rock on!

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11 responses

23 06 2010
deaflinguist

I started the “Can you hear this” test, but had to abandon it after the first two as tinnitus kicked in . . .

On the next one I got Q2 correct. So between us we’ve bagged the lot!

The sound simulations were interesting: I got Bear to listen to the sample of the radio + kettle + running water through the CI, and he visibly winced. Now he understands why I complain in the kitchen – it’s a very useful tool to demonstrate to people how you hear.

Interestingly, I feel that the way I hear speech now falls somewhere between the processed and unprocessed speech samples. I could hear how very different they were which I found fascinating since, hearing them with a CI, I was expecting them to sound the same!

23 06 2010
Funnyoldlife

It’s said the CI is a very very close approximation of natural hearing so yes, I would think we would be able to hear the differences in processed speech. The processed sound samples sound quite different to me and as I’d expect – lower/deeper through hearing aids and higher through cochlear implant.

So Bear didn’t like it then? More info, please! What did he not like?

23 06 2010
Bluesky

Well I failed terribly here. lol

Heard nothing on ‘Can you hear this’. I had the volume on full blast too!

Got all answers wrong on ‘Which is louder’ The noise blew my wig off here! lol

23 06 2010
deaflinguist

I asked, and the answer I got was that in the “radio + kettle + water sound as heard through a CI” the radio sounded as if it had not been tuned properly, and knocked out the other sounds accordingly. I recognised it immediately though – that’s our kitchen at breakfast time!

Bear found it very strange listening to music where he could only perceive the beat! Which seems normal to me – I’m starting to appreciate more of the subtlety of music, but for so many years feeling music was as good as it got. Putting my hands on the back of a cathedral organ was quite special, or being invited to touch the strings of a harpsichord, where I was blown away by how different it felt from my expectations.

Otherwise, I feel that my perception of speech is closer to the unprocessed speech than the CI-perceived speech. It was interesting hearing the samples imitating high frequency loss – it seemed as though not only were the speech sounds muffled, but they were truncated as if the beginnings and ends of the words were cut off, which I understand is typical of profound loss. All that was new to me: I knew it academically if you like, but hearing it for the first time was quite a shock. (As a child I didn’t consciously analyse how I received speech through my HA, of course, and I haven’t heard a thing between then and now!)

24 06 2010
Funnyoldlife

@Bluesky. You need to get borgerised! And quick!

@Deaflinguist. That’s exactly how I would describe speech as I hear it through hearing aids, truncated at the beginnings and ends of words. I was so used to it that I’m finding this new reality quite hard to get my head around and somehow it’s harder to understand people ~ even though I’ve now got ‘normal’ hearing! Nowadays I am shocked at the difference between the hearing aid and cochlear implant – but that’s another blog post!

24 06 2010
deaflinguist

@funnyoldlife – have you coined a new verb – “to borgerise”??

Is another aspect of finding it harder to understand people the fact that you’re getting it in a version of “stereo”, i.e. getting visual and sound input at the same time? It’s a bit distracting sometimes!

I feel I get a lot in “stereo” in a way, in hearing and feeling things for example, and the two occasionally pull me in different directions.

24 06 2010
Funnyoldlife

You may very well be right! I find speech is coming at me instantly and effortlessly (when I can understand it) and I can now see why hearies have such a hard time understanding what’s hard about not hearing well. I have been finding that I can’t talk properly this week – don’t know why! It is all still a jumble.

But yeah, let’s all get borgerised!

24 06 2010
Paul

The unprocessed speech is much closer to what I hear with the Ci so I guess someone w/normal hearing would judge it as being “normal sounding”. For me though, it has a lot of bass or shifted down in frequency. I could only pick out a word here and there. The Ci simulation sounded “tinny” to me, i.e. shifted up in freq. The music, of course, sounded terrible as all music that I don’t know sounds. Just a jumble of sounds. Interesting though. I’ve been passing this link around to hearies.

24 06 2010
Funnyoldlife

I am loving the feedback! Have you noticed that hearies don’t talk about how they hear but we do. So how can we know what’s normal? I’m learning something here.

24 06 2010
Paul

I only know what normal is from what I remember years ago. I’m thinking of a great visual description but I have to figure out how to draw it up for you. Hearies keep asking me if I’m happy/satisfied with what I’m hearing. I don’t know how to tell them that, “No I’m not happy/satisfied with the way it sounds. It sounds terrible (compared to “normal”)”. But, considering that without the Ci there is no sound and no speech comprehension I am ecstatic. Glad I got the Ci. Would recommend it to anyone considering one. To them it is saying opposing thoughts.

11 12 2010
Evolving English « Deaflinguist's Blog

[...] we’re also making up our own vocabulary. I very much liked borgerise – which to me suggests becoming energised through becoming a cyborg. Which is true – [...]

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