Day 2 – 2010

Here in Milwaukee, it sure gets loud. And what I mean by loud is, man, fireworks and lightning shows sure know how to liven up the town!

I headed out to explore the town a bit and came across a fireworks show on the lake for a small gathering. It was fantastic to see the two pyrotechnicians running around with their red flares flaming, hearing the sizzle of the firework fuses lit up and then zooming into the sky to burst nearly directly above me. Meanwhile, in the not-too-distant horizon, there was a thunderstorm building, so much that it was becoming difficult to tell which flashes were of the fireworks and which were from the thunderstorm. But it was a beautiful and inspiring sight!
Yesterday, I got up early to participate in a Gallaudet research study for cochlear implant users and cell phones. For 90 minutes, I was subjected to a wide range of noises and interference sounds while listening to a voice talk about a trip to Arizona. The goal of the study was to identify what kind of impact does interference have on enjoying cell phone calls, and at what loudness or intensity did the noise make it uncomfortable to use. There were three levels of comfort – Excellent for a minimal amount of noise that was able to be easily ignored and listen to the voice; Acceptable, for the level of noise where I could have an extended conversation but would definitely complain about having on a call; and Maximum, where the noise was the loudest I could stand and still be able to have a short call. I noticed that my Excellent and Acceptable levels were close together and fairly low; I think I attribute this to being used to having good cell phone experiences when on a call and thus I’m not willing to deal with a bad amount of interference on a call. It’s vital that I hear clearly when on my calls, which are mostly for business, so that I can ensure all information comes across. I hope that this study will help set standards for noise levels with CIs!
I hit up the exhibit hall and checked out the CI booths – Med-El, Cochlear America, and Advanced Bionics were well represented and provided a wealth of information as to what’s new with their services. Cochlear America recently came out with a new Nucleus 5 processor, which has some water resistant features and is so thin that it requires a remote to change volumes and programs. Advanced Bionics was still touting their Harmony processor and HiRes 120 channels programming, and the rep let it slip that there were tests being done about a “Clear Voice” software coming down the wire. I’m going to visit the Med-El booth again to really understand this new electrode and processor they were putting out. But that’s just the CIs – I should be collecting into about hearing aids too!
The workshops were great – I jumped around and collected info about Hearing Loss and Cochlea Regeneration, then to the Employment and Hearing Loss, and even the Cultural, Family and Personal Causes of Stresses related to Hearing Loss. There was just so much info to collect about those three during the 75 minutes, and I’m still ruminating on it all. I’ll have to do a separate blogpost for each, and I’m actually going to invite the other KC chapter members who were present to write up as well. Kelly Rogel and Sarah Mosher both have excellent insights into their respective workshops as well.
At 2:30pm, I hit up the Walk 4 Hearing workshop on “How to Set up a Walk 4 Hearing, from A-Z” with Kelly, and really got a good session in with Ronnie Adler, the HLAA staff member coordinating Walk 4 Hearing, and her assistant Rebecca. For a little while there, we had a 2 on 2 session where we really got some great instruction and feedback on how to set up a walk for the KC chapter. If you’re interested in helping out, we’re planning on putting some information up here on the KC HLAA blog to kick off a meeting for a KC Walk 4 Hearing. So stay tuned!
The young group here at HLAA rocks! We had about 10-15 people all through the night meet up at Applebee’s for dinner then over to Rock Bottom Brewery for some late night beverages. A shout out goes to everyone who came – Kelly, Vic, Sarah M, Sarah S, Rhi, Alex, Sveta, Viral, Nabeel, Rachel A, Rachel M, Daniel, Michelle, Stephanie, and everyone else!

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