Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mobile phones

I sent out emails to various Federal Politicians, suggesting we have the same legislation as the US does, as regards to ratings for mobile phones.

I had one assistant ring me to tell me to contact Telstra. To go into a store and ask. OMFG, like I haven't contacted Telstra a billion times already to try and get information from them.

But they missed the point in my email. I want RATINGS on phones. Manufactures can't even tell me what handsets have t-coils in them. I want this information available for every handset, like they do in America.

If a politician can't understand that, then what in hell can be done about it?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sound from the CI

Due to recent visitors who may not know about cochlear implants, I'll explain a bit about the sound:

As I was late-deafened, I 'remember' sound so I can compare how it is to normal hearing.

When it is first switched on, there is noise. As in my video, I was spoken to but all it sounded like was one high pitch, no understanding at all. I was expecting actual speech so that was a bit of a shock.

Coming out of the office after activation, when playing with my mobile phone, I could hear the clicking of the keypad! It was the everyday type noises that I recognised almost right away and I spent weeks revelling in all those little things that people take for granted, like the click of the light switch being turned on and off and the pffssshhhttt noise when opening soft drink.

It took about 2 weeks before I could understand speech without lipreading. I believe that is really fast, some CI recipients who are born deaf my never get to that point.

I could not live without my implant. It has helped me so much. Saying that, it is not like 'real' hearing. It can still sound a bit hollow and robotic. I am still hard-of-hearing because I don't understand everything. I find it very difficult to hear when there is a lot of background noise. I still prefer to have subtitles when I watch TV and movies.

I couldn't use the phone when I had hearing aids, I could not understand a thing. But now I can pick up the phone and talk to my loved ones and that is priceless :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


It's very exciting, my YouTube video has suddenly got very popular and is being posted on lots of different webpages! I wondered why the hits had tripled in the last few days :)

From Buzzfeed

I was interviewed by ninemsn and an article about that will appear tomorrow... it's great that people are becoming aware of this technology!!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

More updates on mobile phones

Thanks to my dad's suggestion, I contacted Telstra's disability department about mobile phones for CI users. They actually gave me a specific phone that will work well with the cochlear implant.

Of course, the phone is their own brand, LOL.

But we have found this great site which lists phones with high compatibility with hearing aids:
Phone Finder

As that is American, now it's just a matter of finding out if those models are also sold in Australia.

Motorola Australia also has a webpage devoted to accessibility, including mentioning that all their phones are built with telecoil:

So there is information out there!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bits and pieces

Recently, I captioned my YouTube video of my switch on. It took Stu (my husband) 2 hours to caption a one minute video! Such an involved process!

You Tube Video

Other things:

About a month ago, I received an email from someone in the US who wanted to interview me about my CI experience for an article she was writing.
This is the finished product:

CI article

Another recent happening is a Senate report on Hearing Health in Australia was released. I actually made a submission and was quoted on the cost of hearing aid batteries.
I wish I made a mention of mobile phones :(

The PDF of the report : here

Mobile phones

In the US, they have a M and T rating for cell phones. M for Microphone and T for telecoil and the higher the number, the more compatible with hearing aids/cochlear implants.

Unfortunately, Australia does not have this rating and our major Telecommunications company has fobbed me off TWICE (once online, once in a shop) as they can't help and don't offer to do any research in it.

Yesterday in the shop, I explained the Iphone (as an example) had terrible sound and I just a blank look with "but that volume is quite loud". Well yes, it might be, but it's not compatable enough with telecoils.

On the US Nokia site I actually found a list of Nokia phones with this high M/T rating, but which Australia doesn't sell.
So I email Nokia, explaining this rating and these phones and do we have anything similar in Australia.
I get an answer that Nokia does not keep records of these ratings and refer to the Nokia pages to search for a phone that suits your needs and preferences.

DUH, this is why I EMAILED YOU.

Obviously in Australia there is a HUGE gap where there is no information available on compatible mobile phones!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nucleus 5 : switch on

This switch on was nowhere near as emotional as my first one!

She put it all together as it comes in lots of pieces. She hooked it up to the computer... added all the previous settings from my old one and turned it on.

Audiologist: How is it?
Me : Fine
Audiologist: Any different?
Me: S's a bit more clearer, that is about it.

So there is not much difference with it in every day situations. BUT it is much lighter on the ear and looks cooler too :)

The audiologist showed me how to add the battery packs on and how to use the remote. She didn't show me how to use the buttons on the actual processor, saying I would just use the remote (which looks very ipodish).

Stu and I left after being there only half an hour and went to the city, to test if it really is better in noisier situations like it claims. It is sort of better, the remote definately helps in working out what program is which so you can adjust it to the noisy situation.
But while at the pub, I did work how I can use the buttons on the processor, as lets face it, carrying a remote around all the time is a pain in the bum.

On the way to the city tho, I did ring dad from the mobile to test that and it worked ok.

But at work on the phones, I'm having problems. At the moment I can't tell if it's the setting (I can hear background noise which is great at being able to tell how loud you are talking, previously it cut out all background noise) or if I just haven't quite worked out the best way to place the phone.

Also, because I can hear background noise, I can't tell if the auto-t switch is kicking in. This is why I wanted this processor, because I didn't have to press any buttons to use the phone, it can detect the phone and automatically switch programs.
This is easily fixed with a visit to the audiologist tho, she can turn down the background noise.
I also want her to set it as a permanent feature, not something I have to set with the remote (cant' believe she didn't set it in the first place, or at least ask).

My disposible battery pack I think will need to be replaced as it's not fitting tightly on, it kind of wobbles a bit. I don't want that twisting and falling off!

I do have a major problem with the new processor. My everyday setting is currently on it's maximum setting. It is the same volume I had before... only I used to turn it up in quiet situations. Now this is the loudest it will ever get.
What is wrong with Cochlear?!! MAKE IT LOUDER!!!!!!!!!!!

Stu doesn't think I'm doing any worse or any better with it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Upgrade information

I just joined a cochlear implant form on yahoo and already someone with a Nucleus 5 has given me lots of information!!

I find the new Nucleus 5 processors are:

- Much more elegant design, look and feel. They are much smaller in size and much lighter on your ear to wear. Much more comfortable. Not that the Freedom wasn’t, but the new processor is better.

- I have found the new microphones on the Nucleus 5 to be more superior (for my listening situations). Also the microphone covers last much longer and are made of a new gortex material and you only have to change them now say every 6 months.

- I have found that the rechargeable batteries are great with the Nucleus 5. You have a choice of stand size (longer battery) or Compact Size (which is shorter and makes the processor even smaller overall). Having said this the standard rechargeable’s last longer in length of hours etc.

- The N5 takes 2 Zinc Air batteries compared to the Freedom taking 3 batteries. I find that with the new processor I get nearly as long battery life with 2 Zinc Air as I did with my Freedoms using 3 Zinc Air.

- The remote control is fantastic and so easy to use. It is even better if you have Bilateral Implants as you can control both processors at the press of one button to change to say Program 3 from Program 1 etc. The remote controls either one processor, or two processors at one time. It gives you the flexibility to adjust from EVERYDAY program to NOISE or BEAM programs very easily and therefore you have a better listening situation if you adjust your programs to suit the environment.

- It also has an Auto turn off feature so that it turns itself off after not being on the ear/head etc after 2 minutes. Handy feature.

- It also has Auto Telecoil feature which is great when at home and the home phone rings. If you have it in Auto-T mode, when you answer the phone the Telecoil turns on automatically and turns off automatically after you hang up thereby enhancing your telephone listening experience. I used to never you Telecoil on my Freedoms as I was to lazy to press the Telecoil button, but now that it is automatic, I use it and can actually hear better on the telephone with it.

- I also find that the new software with Nucleus 5 allows me to hear better in noise. Listening in noisy places is always a bit harder for everyone and something none of us like, but with this new processor I find I survive better in noise.

- Overall I am very happy with the new Nucleus 5. Having said this, you still have to get mapped and tuned to suit you as an individual and it takes time to get your new maps set the way you like them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


While I was at the audiologist last week, I gave her instructions on how she can order an upgrade on my behalf.. which involves paperwork to Cochlear Ltd and my health fund.

But while I was there I got to see the new speech processor which looks lovely and shiny!! It also looks a lot smaller which hopefully means it will not be as heavy on my ear.

So my audiologist put in an order for it the very next day (I am going for the boring beige colour, though the white was very appealling!!) and yesterday I got my paperwork from Cochlear, which I simply hand over to my health fund and they can pay for it!

I already have my new "switch on" day, which is the 30th April. I probably could've had it done a lot earlier but I'm getting married in about 2 weeks and apparently the sound will be different so I think I'll stick with what I know for my Big Day :)

This is perfect timing for an upgrade too as the last couple of days, my speech processor has been cutting out for no reason. I changed the coil over and it seems to have behaved itself since then.

I can not WAIT to get my new speech processor with all it's new features!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Documentation for upgrading the speech processor has finally come out. The documentation is fantastic, it lists all the health funds and the contacts.

My current fund will only upgrade after a lot of fuss. In fact, they didn't get back to me when I contacted them about it.

Medibank Private, on the other hand, are fantastic. I replied and got all the answers I wanted, including they will upgrade with no fuss, as long as the audiologist is happy to put in the claim paperwork on the clients behalf!

So, so easy!

So I swapped funds, the great thing being that there are no waiting periods if your cover from the previous fund is the same as the cover in the new fund!

Thank you, Australian Health System!

Monday, March 22, 2010

T switch

I visited the audiologist who made the t-switch an actual program, rather than pressing 2 buttons at once.

It's been fantastic ever since, it's much faster to change over and can hear on the phone so much better!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wearing out

The button I press to get my "telephone" program on my CI is wearing out. It's so hard to swap over and that is a real pain when the phone is ringing and you want to answer it right away :(

In other news, the rebate code for the new processors have come out so hopefully I will be able to get somewhere when asking health insurance companies if they cover upgrades :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Clean it out!

Lately I've been getting Stu (my partner) to repeat himself a lot. This morning I finally twigged that this has been happening more frequently

Me: Is my hearing getting worse?
Stu: (exasperated) YES!!

Ooops. So today when the batteries died (at work) I grabbed a screen cleaner wipe, opened up everything I could...then saw how filthy it was in the microphone area. So cleaned that up and put it back on and VOILA!!! OMG, the difference is amazing, I can hear all the little things again!!

I emailed Stu and told him it was dirt covering the microphone and he was very happy, LOL

So should clean that more often :P This explains why I've been turning up the volume just to hear normal convos, lol

Screen wipes are awesome :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I've started thinking about upgrades to my CI, which cost craploads of money so thought better check if my health fund covers it.

Apparently they don't.

I try to talk to a company that I've heard DOES cover upgrades. They have no freaking idea what I'm talking about.

I send out billions of emails to different companies to see if they'll cover a new upgrade, then they reply needing medicare numbers.

Medicare tells me there are thousands of numbers and just fob me off.

I try my audiologist and my ENT for *any* sort of information.

In the meantime I find out there is actually a new processor out !!!

I've spoken to Cochlear numerous times now, they don't have a rebate code for the new processor yet (too new?) but they gave me the old rebate code. They tell me they've dealt with MY insurance company who do cover upgrades, as does the one who originally had no freaking idea what i'm talking about.

I can't believe how freaking difficult it is to get cover for an upgrade. It's like a hearing aid for gods sake, you get covered for upgrading those!!!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Swimming pools

Cochlear Ltd advertise the CI's as being splashproof. They even have a picture of a child in a pool wearing their CI. I can tell everyone that this is not true coz after a bit of splashing in the pool yesterday, it completely buggered up!!! Wouldn't have been so bad if I was just at mum's but we were socialising with friends so I was even more stressed out about it!! I managed to get sound out of it, but there was definately something wrong!

It dried out overnight and it's all working fine again, but I thought it was ironic that my non-splashproof hearing aid fared better than my splashproof CI.