How well you will do with your cochlear implant depends to a large extent on how much time you spend wearing it and working at listening to lay down a mental map or ‘database’ of sounds. It is particularly important that children wear the cochlear implant for every waking hour that they can, to maximise the window of opportunity they have.
Spend as much time as you can on training your brain to recognise sounds. It will take some time to ‘unlearn’ your old hearing-aided sounds and relearn the cochlear implant-aided sounds. The key is patience, persistence and practice.
Where possible, I have attempted to include British English sources for rehabilitation.
This document is continuously updated by an audiologist, Tina Childress: Apps for Kids and Adults with Hearing Loss.
Find Sounds – check out different sounds. Great for starting off your rehabilitation.
Soundboard – over 294,000 sounds to listen to.
National Trust – Time to Think. A collection of sounds to help train your ear.
Listen to English – podcasts for English learners, with script (British)
Learning English: English at Work – podcasts and scripts, up to 7 mins long (British)
BBC Radio 4 – podcasts
Audio Book Radio – internet radio channel
Storynory – Children’s stories
HearBuilder for children
Digital Dialects – language learning games
Jerry Seinfeld – 3 short video clips which change each day. No captions.
Your local library: Borrow audio books with tape or CD and read whilst listening. Make sure it is an unabridged version, which is word-for-word. Tip: Read a few pages ahead of time so you are aware of the story before you hear it.
Free unabridged audio books are available from The Audio Book store
Try the unabridged version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. This is read by Stephen Fry who has a lovely clear voice. It’s cheaper to download the audio book from iTunes (to your pc or MP3 player) rather than buy the CD from stores such as Waterstones.
Randall’s ESL Lab – Choose easy or medium or hard, take tests, use the quiz scripts to read along and listen. Different voices are used – very handy as some voices might be easier for you to follow than others.
Career Player has short videos of careers advice. Click on the page icon under the video to call up the accompanying transcript.
Lip reading classes will help you. You can find a local lipreading class at ATLA.
Computer based lipreading training programme, Seeing & Hearing Speech – Available from the USA ($85)
Computer based training programme, Phonomena, which reinforces the brain’s ability to distinguish between phonemes, the building blocks of language. Tests have shown that this language based training programme is of benefit to implant users. Available from the UK (£40)
Many Things – Words in American English
Auditory Verbal Training – A list of resources for newly implanted teens and adults.
ESL Cyber Listening Lab – Listening activities by topic.
Tellitagan – Children’s stories.
Voice of America News – Available in different languages.
Learners Dictionary – This website has exercises to help you perfect your pronunciation. You can listen and follow the text, choose activities that highlight certain sounds, or that focus on syllable stress.
Wav Central – On this website, you can type in text and listen as the computer generated voice speaks it or select from a number of sound samples collected from movies, TV shows, and commercials, many of which have the text written out for you to follow.
Basic English Class – Listening practice with words, sentences, songs and short stories. Lyrics and text provided with the audio files.
Medlineplus – Listen and learn about medical conditions
Weather – Spoken weather reports (with background music) and some text
BCS Bedford St Martins – Learn about and learn to differentiate orchestral music and instruments
Thirteen – Name that instrument. Listen to a short sound clip and then pick out the correct instrument out of a group of 4-5 different choices.
Caroline Bowen – For use with a listening coach, this site contains downloadable lists of words called “minimal pairs” (for example, tip/chip) that can be used to practice differentiating similar sounding words. Start with the discrimination level (do the words sound the same or different?), and move on to identification of each word.
Text-to-Speech – TTS (Text-To-Speech) is the creation of audible speech from computer readable text. Type up to 300 characters and listen to your result.
Elllo – They have great pictures and the voices are really natural. The games are varied but the idea is listen to a clip, answer a question and then move on.
Many Things – Modeled after the child’s card game “Memory”, the object of this game is to listen to short sound clips and find matches. There are no pictures or words provided – listening only!
Beenleigss – A wonderful site with links to dozens of stories that vary by levels of difficulty.
University of Iowa: Phonetics – Very detailed website about how consonants and vowels are produced including video clips and audio clips demonstrating the sounds.
Browsealoud – Download a free screenreader, such as this one. With your mouse, you select words on the computer screen and the program will read them to you.
miRoamer – The world’s largest and widest collection of internet audio content in one platform – for free.
Internet Archive – Audio – over two hundred thousand free digital recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by users. Many of these audios and MP3s are available for free download.
A handbook for educators – Teaching children who listen with a cochlear implant
Facebook video: English language in 24 accents
* Cell phones are rated for microphone and telecoil compatibility (United States Federal Communications Commission).
* Phones rated M3 or M4 meet or surpass the standard for microphone compatibility, with M4 being the best.
* Phones rated T3 or T4 meet or surpass the standard for telecoil compatibility, with T4 being the best.
* If there is no M or T rating, the handset has not been tested or does not meet the ANSI standard.
* Telecoil is like an invisible assistive listening system delivering sound by magnetic induction. Try using your telecoil to talk on a cell phone.
* Test handsets in cellular providers’ stores prior to buying.
* Explore cell phone accessories to enhance your telephone listening experience.
Advanced Bionics offer telephone practice with tip sheets. (USA)
Cochlear offer telephone training. (USA)
MUSIC : INSTRUMENTALS
Dig out music tracks you are familiar with and keep listening to them. Sit back and enjoy instrumentals without straining to hear the lyrics. Here’s one where Amanda said the opening blew the magnet off her head (no lyrics):
Rockit by Herbie Hancock (1983)
Autodrive by Herbie Hancock: MTV video, semi-live video.
Music links – archive of music sites to explore
The Virtual Piano – playable on any OS platform
Advanced Bionics offer Musical Atmospheres (free for AB users) and is available online or on CD, where new music is discovered through 3 hours of recorded musical examples, each containing increasing levels of complexity in musical appreciation, helping to establish a firm foundation for musical memory. AB also offer A Musical Journey through the Rainforest and Music Time for children.
Med El offer Noise Carriers, a musical composition available on CD from firstname.lastname@example.org – see Listen,Hear! newsletter no.20 for further information.
MUSIC WITH LYRICS
Lyrics in music can be quite difficult. Subtitled music tracks can be found on YouTube.
Most of the current cochlear implant systems offer a wide variety of accessories designed for a variety of different listening situations. These include – Lapel Microphones, Lapel Clips, Ear Hooks, Telecoils, FM Cables, TV/Hi-Fi Cables, Personal Audio Cables, Processor & Battery Pouches, Conference Microphones, Direct input cables for Mobile Telephones.
With an Advanced Bionics cochlear implant, you can use a computer headset exactly how people with normal hearing use them. Just put them on, and listen with the T-mics. With the iPod, there are two solutions. The regular ear buds direct the sound into the ear canal, which isn’t quite right. Some people use them that way, though. You can use on-the-ear headphones (not the big over-the-ear type) or earbud modifications v2 (courtesy of Howard, Tom & Sam) to block out background noise.