Thursday, 28 December 2006

Technology... can we really compare HA's and CI's?...

It's easy to compare cochlear implant (CI) with a hearing aid (HA) and frequently this is done in a single breath. However, not by people that have used a HA before, and now use the CI. They explain that CI goes beyond HA. Not just a little, but a lot. For Lotte we have no comparison other than she did not benefit - in our opinion - from HA's.

But there's another part of the equasion that is quickly forgotton. And that is the CI of 10 years ago, compared to now. I quickly compare to our computer now and 10 years ago. We cannot imagine using a 10-year computer with the programs we use nowaday's. It simply will slow down to a complete halt.

This is how I see CI as well. 10 Years ago, software and hardware were far slower and perhaps this brought the CI's closes to the HA in most respects. After all. With the speeds available at that time, all processing power needed to be used for speech. But nowadays, technology has become so much faster, that with the same capacity a wider frequency-range can be used. And is used.

Manufacturers are moving more and more into virtual electrodes and creating software specialised to enjoying music. The new CI-user is no longer satisfied with "just" speech but wants to go beyond that. More environmental sounds and music.

With Lotte we see her speech development which is going well, but more impressive is the level at which she hears. She is able to hear very soft sounds. She's able to whisper, and understand whispering.
But with music she shows little interest. She uses melody but sings in a monotone way..
Is this due to her development or is this due to mapping being focused on speech?

The technician mapping her is very good at his job. He has done it from the first time CI came around, and in a way made it possible for many children and adults to hear.
But this might be the problem. Focus has allways be on speech for him. THIS was the goal and accomplishment. The achievement was to go from deaf to hearing to understanding speech. There was technically never room to go beyond speech, and perhaps this is still the attitude and expectation. Even though technology has moved one, the idea of hearing more than speech is still foreign.

Obviously I'm lacking knowledge in this area. What are the possibilities with Freedom CI. She has the latest equipment both inside and outside, but I have no idea as to what level it is being used.
What I do know is that Lotte is developing well, speech-wise, and that she has never had a bad experience with CI in the way that she does not want to wear it. She hardly pulls it off due to discomfort and is quick to put it on again.
But, there must be more possibilities. Other companies advertise with their progress (e.g. Advance Bionics, MedEl), showing the possibilities, but little is heared when we do our mapping.

Time to investigate!!
Cochlear - Smart Sound - Much information in the Global White Papers (Have to log in)
Advanced Bionics - Hi-Res FDA approval - HiResWFidelity120.pdf (Available for adults only) - Bilateral Study Overview
MedEl - FineHearing


LillysDad said...

From Lillys Dad, AllDeaf

The technology in the latest generation of CI is (as my neighbor who is an I.T. infastructure architect says) mindboggoling. From researching the possibilities of the freedom, I have found the same phrase in several different places. They all say that the freedoms hardware is capable of using software that has not yet been created.
I asked my neighbor about this statement and how this could be. The way he explained it, (after he also researched it) the harddrive is similar in theory to a thumb drive or flashdrive. It can basically be erased and reprogrammed to do anything you want it to in terms of translating actual sound into computer data. I am sure that I am screwing this up badly, but I am pretty much computer illiterate.
Another way I had this explained to me was , imagine that current software for the freedom charted each freq, db, of sound on every inch on a peice of graph paper. The processor is capable of adding new sound freq and db every 16th or 32nd of an inch.

DeafDyke said...

DeafDyke at AllDeaf
Cloggy, the reason why Lotte does not appreciate music is simple...She does not hear like a hearing person. Yes, there are people who are "almost hearing" with the CI, but most of those people are late deafened, or who probaly lost their hearing relatively late.
Most pediatric dhh people do not hear the way hearing people, think of hearing.
We get SOME access to hearing, but the quality of our hearing to hearing people, is like the difference in computer animation between, the animation used in Titanic vs. the computer animation used in Polar Express.
It really is drasticly diffrent.

It's easy to compare cochlear implant (CI) with a hearing aid (HA) and frequently this is done in a single breath. However, not by people that have used a HA before, and now use the CI. They explain that CI goes beyond HA. Not just a little, but a lot.

Cloggy, you miss the point. The technological process of how a particular device produces "hearing" is different yes....but you know what? The technological process is probally different when comparing how digital and analog hearing aids or tactile aids or those high frequncy transponder things work. The end result is the same. They all allow dhh people to somewhat access sound....although NOT at ALL the way a hearing person may experiance sound.

Cloggy said...


Again you are comparing CI's with HA's, and showing lack of knowledge of the first.
Many people with CI are enjoying music BECAUSE of their CI.

HearAgain said...

.........I know several CI users who report music, voices and environmental sounds being exactly as they remember before becoming deaf.

When I listen to music with my CIs, it sounds *exactly* the way I remember before losing my hearing. For example, a flute sounds like a flute, a clarinet like a clarinet, Mick Jagger like Mick Jagger.

I hear ALL of the characteristics of music including melody, harmony, background vocals, instrumentals and lead vocals. The only thing I *don't* hear is bass (which the CI is incapable of producing at this time).

When I'm given a pure tone hearing test with my CIs, I hear at 20-30 dB across all frequencies, so there really isn't anything I'm missing compared to someone with normal hearing.

Granted, just because *I* hear at 20-30 dB across all frequencies and hear music the way I remember it to be does not mean all CI users do. However, there are some of us who *do* hear sounds and voices exactly the same way someone with normal hearing would.

Sure, hearing with a CI isn't hearing "normally," (i.e. auditory nerve as opposed to hair cells) but that doesn't mean a CI user can't hear what someone with normal hearing does.
Hear Again

Left ear - Nucleus 24 Contour Advance with Freedom BTE
Implanted: 12/22/04 Activated: 1/18/05

Right ear - Nucleus Freedom
Implanted: 2/1/06 Activated: 3/1/06


HearAgain said...

Unfortunately, those who do not have CIs continue to spread the myth that CI users do not hear the same way as hearing people do.

As a CI user, I can tell you that I hear *exactly* the same sounds as my hearing friends and family do. I can hear whispers, birds singing, the wind, rain, thunder, leaves crunching underneath my feet, so DD why is it that you think I hear differently than hearing people do?

What I hear through my CIs sounds exactly like I remember before losing my hearing. While it is true that voices and sounds were metallic in nature following the early days of my CI activation, that is no longer the case. 100% of what I hear sounds "natural." The only exception to this is music. For whatever reason, some types of music sound off-key (especially if it is unfamiliar to me). However, music I am familiar with sounds exactly like I remember before losing my hearing.

So I *don't* hear any differently than someone with normal hearing. On second thought, I take that back. Sometimes I hear *better* than they do!

Boult said...

Ahem.. well, In my post, I said that no ci users hear the exactly same way that hearing people hear.


you do hear the same way you heard before losing your hearing.

Although you can hear the sounds at certain db levels that hearing people can hear at. not exactly same. for example you may hear them at few frequency off than what hearing people heard. considering that CI digitized the sound to your brian than analog (thru the traditional way without CI or HA) AND that CI doesn't cover the whole range of frequency...

(my CI stop at 250 hertz, that's the lowest it can go and hopefully that Harmony will go lower than that, so hearing people can hear lower than that.)

You know what I mean?

Of course you will hear those sound emitted at specific db level that hearing people heard but you may repeat the sound by imitating it slightly different. but you can processes and know what was said.

R2D2 said...

I had a nice CI moment today sort of. Before I had my CI and after I suddenly lost my hearing going to the GP was an ordeal as I couldn't understand him. I've just been to the GP for the first time since activation 6 months ago to get my daughter's immunisations and our conversation was smooth and easy. What a stark difference Not only that but I telephoned the doctor's reception a week ago to arrange the appointment and we discussed possible times that would suit me. That would just never have happened before!

(Some) Milestones

  • 2013-08: Grade 6
  • 2012-08: Grade 5
  • 2011-08: Grade 4
  • 2011-03: BTE's on the ear
  • 2010-08: Grade 3
  • 2009-08: Grade 2
  • 2008-08: Mainstream School (6y. old)
  • 2006-10: All-hearing Kindergarten (4y. old)
  • 2004-11-22: CI activated (27 m. old)
  • 2004-10-04: Bi-lateral CI (26 m. old)
  • 2003-08: Deaf/HOH/CI Pre-school/"DEAF" Kindergarten (12m. old)
  • 2003-07: HA's fitted (11 m. old)
  • 2003-06: Diagnosed deaf. Start sign-language (10m. old)
  • 2002-11: Suspicion loss of hearing (4 m. old)
  • 2002-08: Born - A fierce LION
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