Advanced Bionics Naída CI Q70 Review

25 08 2013

naida processor

Here is the definitive, in-depth review of Advanced Bionic’s latest processor, the amazing Naída CI Q70!

My new processor, the Naída Cl Q70, is smaller, lighter and even more discreet than the Harmony processor. With the battery is installed, it is much lighter on the ear. To be honest, it is so small that I almost forget I am wearing it! …

Naída CI Q70 after the jump, in English, and in French!>

Spy Photo – CR210 Basic Remote Control for Cochlear CP900 Processors

21 03 2013


Thanks to Cochlear Implant HELP for the shoutout!

Let me have a two-can string telephone

24 03 2011


Did you play with string telephones as a child? This is a game that deaf children most likely don’t play…. unless they can lip read the length of a string.

I got my chance last week …. it was thrilling! A client was giving a presentation and his topic was an invention : antennae. He used cans and plastic cups as an analogy to show how antennae works. His prop was a pair of tin cans with string between them, and a pair of smaller plastic cups with string between them.

He made a sound into a tin can, the sound went into the can, travelled along the string as a transference wave and came out of the other tin as a sound wave again.  How the antennae works is pretty much the same.  An electrical signal goes into the antenna, the antennae converts to a radio signal and on the receiving end converts it back to an electrical signal, and that would be music or image. This is the basic principles of how antennae works.  It is a form of transducer that converts one form of energy into another.

The really exciting bit was that when he spoke into the can, I could understand every word he said.

Eyeballs straight ahead! – I had my head at 90 degrees! – I swear!

I was amazed. Unexpectedly, the two pairs sounded different too. Why is this?  A micro strip antennae allows you to reconfigure frequency. This antennae allows you to reconfigure the personal frequency which means, say, a radio wave would work at 15 gigahertz but a mobile would be 20 gigahertz, they work in different frequencies.  The antennae, the configuration has changed.  In this case, it became smaller so the plastic cup works at a higher frequency than the longer tin can, which means the plastic cup would be better for female voices compared to the longer tin can which is better for male voices.  So this antennae allows you to reconfigure its personal frequency by employing a very small patch of capacity. This highlights why voices can be harder to understand on the telephone.

Antennae is a really important invention, you’ll find one in every telephone, mobile phone, computer, wireless computer, wi-fi. It was really cool to have an expert explain to me in layman’s terms how antennae work, and to allow me to have the opportunity to listen for myself. This is real hands-on hearing!

Better telephone access for deaf people

2 09 2010

A news release from TAG hit my inbox today, calling for better access to telephones for deaf people. This saga is really dragging on, but it wasn’t easy obtaining captions either. Dan offers a possible solution. Read on …..


Government call for improved disabled access for 2012 must include better access to the telephone for deaf people

2 September 2010

Government must take the initiative to modernise telephone relay services for deaf and hard-of-hearing people if its call for companies to improve disabled access in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics is to mean anything to deaf people, says TAG, the deaf electronic communications consortium.

The Government-commissioned report 2012 Legacy for Disabled People: Inclusive and Accessible Business shows that almost one-third of disabled people have difficulty in accessing goods and services they want to use. Because of poor access to the telephone network, the percentage of deaf and hard-of hearing people unable to access goods and services is very much higher. As a result the economy suffers and deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens are marginalised.

Ruth Myers, Chairman of TAG, said: “This Government report reflects what TAG has been saying for a very long time: deaf and hard-of-hearing people are excluded from many social and commercial opportunities because of the antiquated way that they must communicate with the hearing world via the voice telephone. Email and texting communications only meet some needs – access to voice telephony is crucial for many employment, commercial and social purposes.

“TAG is campaigning for new types of relay services, such as captioned telephony, video relay and IP relay services, all of which are already available to deaf people in some other countries. Everyone accepts that the provision of additional types of relay service is the way forward, but the trigger for action has to be a Government commitment to find the necessary funding mechanisms. The costs are not high in comparison to the economic and social benefits which will accrue.

“We call on the Government to act now to ensure that modernised telephone relay services for deaf people will be up and running in 2011, ready for use by deaf people to make their booking arrangements for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

TAG is a consortium of the main UK deaf organisations concerned with electronic communications and is campaigning for improved electronic communications for deaf, deafened, hard-of-hearing, and deafblind people, and sign language users.

Follow TAG on Twitter @DeafTAG

Telecommunications Action Group

Media Contact

Stephen Fleming at Palam Communications
t 01635 299116 (voice)

Dan says this one is a no-brainer to fix – for free.
  • Go to and sign up. You’ll be prompted to be assigned a relay phone number.
  • You will enter your address (for expanded 911 service); and then choose an open number in the pool from the pop-up. Write this number down.
  • Now, you can make unlimited free outbound relay calls from your web browser.
But Wait, There’s More!
  • Now, minimize the browser window — We’ll come back to it in a few moments.
  • Next, in a new browser window, go to and get a screen name (skip this step if you already have one). Then, either download the free AIM software, or if you already use another IM service (ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, MSN, Google Chat, etc…), download the free Trillian IM software, which will funnel all of your IM services into one small app on your desktop.
  • Install & configure your AIM or Trillian software to automatically launch on startup, and also to autoconnect on launch.
  • Go back to the window and enter your AIM screen name. You can now close that window.
  • Click back on AIM or Trillian and add i711relay to your buddy list. Send an IM with “Hello” in it and you’ll get an autoreply with a couple lines of text.

You now have two additional ways to handle calls:

  1. You can place a call via AIM by sending an IM with the phone number in it.
  2. You can now also receive voice calls on the free number you received when you signed up a few minutes ago.

Now, you can give out that number to hearing friends, family, & businesses as your voice number. When someone dials this number, they will get a relay operator who will send you an IM, and initiate the call.

But Wait, There’s Still More!

Let’s say that the only internet access you have is on a mobile (Blackberry, Treo, or iPhone) via a $35/month data-only plan for the hearing impaired. Simply load the AIM or Trillian software on your mobile, and you can place and receive relay calls, just like on your PC in your home.

Now, let’s say you live in another country and work for an American company: simply enter the US address when you sign up for the service. You will now have a free phone number in the United States for your hearing business associates (and friends & family) to reach you via relay.

How is this all possible… And for free when one end of the relay call is in America?

Every phone line in the United States is taxed about 50 cents per month to fund relay services for the hearing impaired, allowing free enterprise services (such as to thrive in the open market providing services for us. The simple fact is businesses can leverage internet and telephony technology to provide voice relay and turn a profit while doing so.

What a country!

Personally, I would love to see the return of CapTel to the UK. CapTel uses a CapTel phone handset, and WebCapTel uses the internet and any phone including a mobile phone. I was lucky to be able to use both in my job and I found it fantastic – no one realised I was deaf. Unfortunately the company supplying the CapTel service was unable to continue providing it, as it was too expensive to do this without public or government funding. Hence the campaign by TAG to improve telephone relay services in the UK, by either improving Text Relay (formerly Typetalk) or appropriately financing the provision of services such as CapTel and VRS such as SignVideo. You can see SignVideo in action here, provided by Significan’t in London. I found the screen display very clear and could lipread the person.

In the US, you have more than one CapTel provider. You can even get it for Blackberry!

Hamilton CapTel
Sprint CapTel

There is also a service called PhoneCaption.

The scary future for cochlear implants?

26 05 2010

Dr Mark Gasson from the University of Reading has been infected with a computer virus. This has possible implications for cochlear implants as they develop in the future, should the future involve wireless technology. Further details on the story are here are at BBC News: ‘First human infected with computer virus’.

A fully internal cochlear implant has been patented by Advanced Bionics so we may see some exciting developments there.

In 2006, a deaf woman replaced her conventional processor with a fully implantable cochlear implant (though it was not implanted) and she was able to understand speech easily and well. This implantable cochlear implant was developed by Rahul Sarpeshkar, an associate professor in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he heads the Analog VLSI and Biological Systems lab. This redesigned implant bypasses the DSP (digital signal processing) and thus reduces the need for a large power supply. For an in-depth description of the bionic ear, see “An Ultra-Low-Power Programmable Analog Bionic Ear Processor,” by Rahul Sarpeshkar et al., IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, April 2005, pp. 711-727.

I know people who are having (rare) problems with their cochlear implants – low level functioning, site infection, internal device breakdown, wound re-opening – and consider myself lucky to have had a smooth recovery from my implantation.  I’m really not particularly keen on exposing myself to the possibility of something going wrong with a fully implantable device with a greater level of difficulty of ‘fixing it’. How will they carry out upgrades – by using wireless technology? This could be a dark and dangerous road to travel.

Call for Telecoms and Convergent Media related research and commercial projects

10 07 2009

Here is a chance for deaf people and those interested in improvements in the telecoms sector to make a difference for deaf people by encouraging innovations and investment in new technology.

UCL (University College London) want to hear from individuals who have past, current or planned commercial activities (including spin-outs and consulting work) that target or involve telecoms innovations.

Companies ar eno longer confined to their own markets. Fixed, mobile, and IP service providers can offer content and media services, and equipment providers can offer services directly to the end user. How will new telecommunications technologies develop? Where will the social, economic and legal barriers between digital and real-world lives break-down? Where will the innovations in new media take us?

The conference on 12 November 2009 will cover:

* New telecoms and media technologies
* The need for collaboration between traditional telecom suppliers and media service providers
* The technical, legal and social problems faced and the disruptive forces to convergence

UCL are now looking to identify the following people:

To express an interest in participating at the event, contact Euphame McDonald, Events & Marketing Manager, UCL Advances on

UCL Advances, UCL’s centre for entrepreneurship and business interaction, hosts a series of annual ‘Technology Innovation Forum’ events which bring together academics and researchers with established businesses and investors in order to encourage new relationships that may lead to future research or commercial opportunities.

Previous events have focused on themes such as:
Energy and Sustainability

The format of these events is typically focused on a half day conference that includes short presentations of recent research and commercial projects, panel discussions with academic and leading business figures and a keynote presentation. These have delivered real benefits to members of UCL and external organisations.

Unique machine deepens understanding of how brains process sound

2 07 2009

Taken from news at UCL

Researchers at UCL’s Ear Institute are using a unique machine to deepen their understanding of how the brain processes sound. This is important for deafness as the brain deciphers soundwaves and an improvement in understanding this process has the potential to improve how deafness is treated or managed.

The Ear Institute’s new small-animal magnetoencephalograph, or MEG for short, is the most advanced machine of its type in the world.

Its installation is a result of a collaboration between UCL, the Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) in Japan and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, France.

The team hopes the research it makes possible will lead to advances in treatments for deafness and a range of other conditions.

Magnetoencephalography is an imaging technique used to measure the fluctuations of magnetic fields in the brain that occur as a result of neural activity. It complements other brain activity measurement techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

MEG has many uses, including localising a pathology and determining the function of various parts of the brain.

MEG has been used on humans for some time, but until now the machines have not been sufficiently sensitive for use on small animals.

But the Ear Institute’s machine, developed by KIT, takes the technology a step further, allowing much more precise measurements than were previously possible.

It uses specially designed, super-cooled sensors to measure the tiny fluctuations of magnetic fields in the brain, which are several orders of magnitude lower than the Earth’s magnetic field.

Researchers Dr Maria Chait, Dr Jennifer Linden, Dr Alain de Cheveigne (CNRS) and Professor David McAlpine are currently fine-tuning the machine for a series of experiments in small rodents.

Dr Chait said: “Sound is a pressure wave in the air that is converted by the ear into nerve impulses sent to the brain. We want to understand how the brain processes that information to create our perception of the world. Understanding that is one of the keys to progress in applications such as hearing aids, cochlear implants and a whole host of neurological disorders.”

An important aspect of the team’s research will involve measuring neural activity in the brains of genetically modified mice, bred to mimic a range of human brain disorders.

Dr Chait said: “MEG has been used widely to study human brain activity. However, a difficulty exists in relating the results of such work in humans to what we know about the structure of the brain, where information largely comes from animal model studies. We’re hoping this machine, which is a completely new technological advance, will allow us to bridge the gap between human and animal research leading to a major progress in understanding hearing and its disorders.”

The technique is non-invasive and the animals are not harmed in any way.

“A lot of the experiments we plan to do relate to studying the effects of long-term exposure to sound environments on the development and function of the auditory system. These experiments are fundamental to the understanding of how the sound environments in which we live affect our long-term hearing, but for obvious reasons are impossible to conduct on humans. Because these experiments involve repeating measurements over a long period of time they are also quite difficult to conduct using an invasive technique in animals. But with the MEG, we can raise the animals from birth to adulthood in specifically controlled sound environments and observe how such exposure affects the development of their hearing,” said Dr Chait.

The team also believe that the small animal MEG could be useful to the wider scientific community at UCL.

Dr Linden added: “The Kanazawa Institute chose UCL because they wanted a high-profile partner that could make proper use of the machine. It’s a really exciting piece of technology, but the potential is not limited to research at the Ear Institute. This brain imaging technique could be of benefit to scientists studying other brain functions besides hearing.”

Subtitles for Apple Mac tutorials

11 04 2009

I’ve bought an electronic frisbee Apple MacBook Air and am struggling with finding out how to use all the applications, as it didn’t come with a manual. I found video tutorials online however they aren’t captioned. A problem for me, since I can’t hear!

I discovered this site, Mac Video Tutorial subtitles project. The video tutorials are subtitled by volunteers. Brilliant! Just what I need, and I’m sooo grateful.

Captions are available in English and Italian, and they would love more volunteers, to translate into other languages.

I have to say, with Apple liking to be seen as being at the forefront of technology, why haven’t they captioned all their videos? It’s not a technically difficult thing to do.

International Symposium : Instructional Technology & Deaf Education

1 06 2008

Date: 23 – 26 June 2008

Place: Rochester, New York, USA

E. William Clymer, Symposium Chair NTID/RIT
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
PEN- International
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604

Telephone (Voice) & TTY: +1 585 475 6894
Fax: +1 585 475 6544

Online captioned telephone calls

2 04 2008

Attempting to use telephony for business purposes is very frustrating. I’ve used Typetalk for a number of years and wasn’t happy with the service, it was good but not quite appropriate in the fast moving corporate world. Don’t get me wrong, Typetalk is fantastic and the operators are usually helpful. What I don’t like about Typetalk is –

Hang-ups. People would hang up on me repeatedly because they thought the Typetalk operator was trying to sell them double glazing, and I was forced to ask a hearing person to either make the call for me or to exlpain that a deaf person was trying to call them through something called Typetalk and they were not to hang up during the connection process.

Unnaturalness. Hearing people don’t like the delays created by a Typetalk conversation, it also feels like using a CB radio as it’s quite stilted – I say my bit then ‘Go Ahead’, then the respondent says their bit then ‘Go Ahead’ – the conversation loses all spontaniety.

Obvious third party presence. Some operators are men, which can be embarrassing if you are saying ‘I love you’ to your husband and the operator repeats this in a male voice to your husband…. I’ve had operators cut me off in a call, telling my friend on the other end ‘she’s not deaf’ when I’ve had the good fortune of a very clear line and an Irish accent which is dead easy for me to understand!

Acceptance. Hearing people largely don’t really understand how Typetalk works, and combined with the unnaturalness of the conversation and the third party presence, some are not keen to use it. Doesn’t help professional relations.

Handset. I needed a textphone, the cheapest start at £300. My main gripe with this is that I am tied to that particular phone, I can’t just walk into a colleague’s office and pick up their phone, like a hearing person could.

Prefix. If I want to call someone, I have to remember to dial 18001 before their number, and let’s not forget where to dial the 9 to get out of your office systems. If someone wants to call me, they have to REMEMBER to dial 18002 then my number. Of course, most people don’t remember, the call comes through and it’s direct – no captions. And I’m struggling to cope with this caller I can’t hear and the phone keeps ringing. Ugh.

What I really DID like about Typetalk was-

Cost. It’s cheap, Typetalk users get a 60% rebate on phone calls made.

Access It’s available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Typetalk means I can make calls for myself, from work AND from home. I can phone for pizza, call a cab, have a chat with a friend.

Last year I used CapTel which was eminently suitable for my professional needs. The CapTel operator CANNOT intervene at any point as the system works quite differently.

Let’s say I call Maria. Maria’s speech is repeated by the CapTel operator into their computer and the computer transcribes this speech onto my phone screen. I read Maria’s speech off the screen and speak back to her.


This happens with a delay of 3 seconds which is unnoticed by most people. When it is noticed by those too impatient to wait a few seconds, I say ‘Oh, I don’t hear well, my phone uses voice recognition technology so there is a slight delay while I read what you’ve said.’ This delay arises from the time it takes for the speech to be transcribed and for me to read it. Hearing people find this a perfectly acceptable explanation (if simplified!) and are even enthusiastic about it and very interested, and the conversation often turns into an explanation of how the system works! I’ve never ever had a hearing person be enthusiastic about Typetalk. I don’t even need to use a prefixed number, it’s a direct dial for me to call someone, no faffing about with 18001 then 9 then 020 9834 … or is it 9 then 18001 then 020 9834…. see, even I have problems sometimes!

CapTel then developed last year into the next level of technology, WebCapTel. This was essentially the same system, but it worked over the internet. This meant I could log into my CapTel account online (no expensive handset needed! – it’s like logging into your Amazon account) and a screen would pop up, like the one you get in MSN Messenger. The WebCapTel service would ring my phone (NORMAL PHONE HANDSET!) and the respondent’s phone simultaneously, I would pick up my phone when it rings (that means I’m connected to WebCapTel), and our conversation would start straightaway. I speak and the respondent’s conversation appears on my computer screen like magic. I can go to any ordinary phone or even use a compatible mobile, log in on an available computer, and talk. Complete freedom to roam! I can also used Captioned Relay for international conference calls, using a conference microphone.

The only thing I didn’t like about CapTel or WebCapTel was that it cost £1 a minute for the captioning element of the calls – both incoming and outgoing.

The WebCapTel service in the UK was pulled at the end of 2007 due to lack of funding.

I have been without a telephone since November 2007. I got a ScreenPhone from the RNID but this uses Typetalk, and due to the nature of my building’s phone systems, I can’t accept calls from my colleagues within the building – I can only accept external calls. How annoying. It’s tiresome having to explain to people how Typetalk works, dealing with the delays, stilted conversations, trying to get connected, argh argh argh! Hearing people don’t know how lucky they are, they can just pick up a handset and go.

In the USA, my choices would be quite different. Two relay service providers, Sprint and Hamilton have started WebCapTel Relay Service 24 hours 7 day and 365 days a year service at no cost to the hard of hearing, deafened and deaf with speech users other than the cost of a standard call, as from 1st March 2008. BUT ONLY IN THE USA! Both Sprint and Hamilton have been running CapTel relay services for a while, offering the service in Spanish and English. There is even a Sprint Relay blog. No-one is allowed to use it outside the USA. TCC has ruled this because the USA does not want the cost of the relay services to be given over to users outside the USA. The same thing applies to their IP Text Relay Services.

Why don’t we have this service available in the UK? Not only do the US have these fantastic services to enable professional equality on a par with hearing colleagues, the Federal Commission on Communications (FCC) approved for WebCapTel to be reimburseable and with no limit – this was released last December.

I’d love to see a free and modern captioned telephony service widely available in the UK, to allow deaf people to use the phone on a par with their hearing peers. That’s not asking for much is it, when we can put people on the moon? But hey, we could always move to the USA.