Saturday, January 28, 2006

Smiling Big (no more feedback)

As I was growing up with hearing aids, I am often the "feedback" guy. When I smile big, I make a feedback from the hearing aids. The sound of the feedback is a shrilling whistle noise.

This happens when my hearing makes "a looping feed back to hearing aid" - when its microphone picks up the its output of amplified sound, it makes continous loop of sounds and increasing up to its limits in loudness and frequency (the loudest sounds, with highest frequency, the shrilling noise). When I put earmolds in my ear, the feedback stops unless it "leaks" or exposed and the feedback begins all over again. The ear changes its shape when my jawbone and facial muscles moves, and it opens up the feedback. And I can't hear the feedback myself, but all hearing people can! I have lots of embarassing moments, too.

So when I smile, I used to make a half-smile and nodd my head to express my "big smile". After I had the implant, I turned the hearing aid on and I heard the feedback for the first time ever. It is really annoying!!!

Now that I have cochlear implants, the feedback is impossible - the output is in electronic form instead of ampfied sounds. Lo and behold, no more feedback - and I am able to make the biggest smile as I can - and that made a big difference about myself! I'm very happy that I don't have to "suffer" the feedback moments anymore.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

What it takes to hear in noisy places...

Human ear is very remarkable device! The human ear, can hear voices that is quieter than the noises in the background by just 5 decibels!!! For the cochlear implants like Advanced Bionic's Hi-Res, can hear the voices at about 5 decibels louder than the noise. So that means if there is noisy around me during the conversation, I'll have to ask them to talk louder, because I can't even beat the human ear. It's a very polite thing to say, because the speaker wants to you to hear what he/she said.

For example, if I am listening to the music in the car, I'll have to turn music up a bit more so I can hear it beside the turbulence, tires, vibrations, a/c, engine and transmission, etc... as I go on. If I am in an airliner flying at 30,000 feet, I would prefer to hook my implants to XMRadio player. I even can turn my implants off and enjoy a nice, quiet ride. If I am at a rock concert, forget hearing it, but do wear the ear plugs, even though you have implant, but you don't want to rupture the ear drum and its middle ear parts.

Here are the examples of noise levels:

Points of Reference
*measured in dBA or decibels
0 The softest sound a person can hear with normal hearing
10 normal breathing
20 whispering at 5 feet
30 soft whisper
50 rainfall
60 normal conversation
110 shouting in ear
120 thunder

50 refrigerator
50 - 60 electric toothbrush
50 - 75 washing machine
50 - 75 air conditioner
50 - 80 electric shaver
55 coffee percolator
55 - 70 dishwasher
60 sewing machine
60 - 85 vacuum cleaner
60 - 95 hair dryer
65 - 80 alarm clock
70 TV audio
70 - 80 coffee grinder
70 - 95 garbage disposal
75 - 85 flush toilet
80 pop-up toaster
80 doorbell
80 ringing telephone
80 whistling kettle
80 - 90 food mixer or processor
80 - 90 blender
80 - 95 garbage disposal
110 baby crying
110 squeaky toy held close to the ear
135 noisy squeeze toys


40 quiet office, library
50 large office
65 - 95 power lawn mower
80 manual machine, tools
85 handsaw
90 tractor
90 - 115 subway
95 electric drill
100 factory machinery
100 woodworking class
105 snow blower
110 power saw
110 leafblower
120 chain saw, hammer on nail
120 pneumatic drills, heavy machine
120 jet plane (at ramp)
120 ambulance siren
125 chain saw
130 jackhammer, power drill
130 air raid
130 percussion section at symphony
140 airplane taking off
150 jet engine taking off
150 artillery fire at 500 feet
180 rocket launching from pad


40 quiet residential area
70 freeway traffic
85 heavy traffic, noisy restaurant
90 truck, shouted conversation
95 - 110 motorcycle
100 snowmobile
100 school dance, boom box
110 disco
110 busy video arcade
110 symphony concert
110 car horn
110 -120 rock concert
112 personal cassette player on high
117 football game (stadium)
120 band concert
125 auto stereo (factory installed)
130 stock car races
143 bicycle horn
150 firecracker
156 capgun
157 balloon pop
162 fireworks (at 3 feet)
163 rifle
166 handgun
170 shotgun

What I learned from bilateral...

The biggest thing I learned from bi-lateral is that I can hear more than just one implant alone. Remember the right ear is for music, and left ear is for voices, and in the mind, the brain put these information from two ears together and create a great auditory perception of the hearing world around me. I just can't go on with one implant alone.