Music

Music is part of our culture. Our mothers sing to us from an early age and television programs for children always include songs. Education includes music and many of us had at least some training in playing a musical instrument – even if it was only a Recorder! Clubs, churches, community groups and entertainment are often formed around music or musical activities. Even the Deaf Culture, those who can’t even hear it well have musical evenings. So it stands to reason that when we go deaf one thing we miss is music and we want to hear it again. So when we have a Cochlear Implant, we want to hear music just the way we remembered it.

Karen: kaz_dempsey@optusnet.com.au

Music for me is a bit 50/50, I sort of gave up listening to music as my hearing got worse and I think because of that when I got my implant I wasn’t really all that worried about music being really important.

However I find that when I hear a familiar song I can remember it and it sounds like I remembered. I went to a Seekers concert when they were touring and found that a much better experience than I expected.

I have a music program on my processor that I use from time to time to listen to music. I don’t play any musical instrument.

Alistair: alistair@thesutherlands.net

Back in 2005 after my left implant I participate in a research project with Cochlear, then at Lane Cove, related to music instruments and music in general. I am unaware of the result but they paid for travel from ACT on many occasions.

Perhaps as a starter the research should be considered. I am at present the recipient of a second implant in 2004.

I have no problem listening to music , mostly classical and jazz , on the radio and other venues and identifying various instruments. I have limitedly played the clarinet and cello [basic ] since my implants. My opinion is my brain was used to music before implantation even though I had hearing aids for years. If I can be of further assistance let me know.

Felicity: felicity@bleckly.com

I do choose to listen to music and it sounds exactly as I remember it. However, I need excellent sound quality. A poor speaker system reduces the way I hear it and it can sometimes cause the music to wail. Anything with an echo between speakers makes the music harder to appreciate (but then doesn’t it for hearing people too?) At the movies, because of the over loud volume, the music can wail a bit and I think this is because my processor cuts out/flattens the loudest parts.

With one ear implanted, after a couple of months, music I knew sounded the way I remembered but new music was monotonal. However, this improved with bi-lateral CIs and now I can hear all music the way I expect.

If I play the piano I need to reduce the volume and the sensitivity because otherwise there are just too many notes and they roll into one another. By cutting down volume and sensitivity I can hear the piano the way it always did. Every time we have tested me I have 100% semitone recognition of which of two notes is higher or lower. However, if I am playing a song and there are lots of notes (say English Country Gardens where there maybe 12 notes in a chord) and if I played one of the notes a semitone out, in among all the others I may not hear that it is wrong.

My favourite music is piano because that is what I was so familiar with. However, I really like orchestral especially Strauss. Andre Rieu’s music suits me perfectly. I believe the monotonal quality which comes with listening to music is because our processors have a set dynamic range and music is often outside this range. So when music is in the dynamic range it sounds good, but if it moves out of that our processors flatten the sound, thus giving the monotonal quality. Why this doesn’t happen for me is a matter for conjecture, but again I believe it is because music was like a second language. My brain knew what it should be like and so somehow I have grown the new connections to hear the music like I remember. I just wish I had more time to play and could get my ambition back to do more piano study. But like everything, if you don’t do it for 20+ years then usually you lose the joy in it.

Dick: dsutclif@tpg.com.au

I deferred having my first implant until my beloved Joan Sutherland CD’s began to sound out of tune, as I’d heard, and still find, that music is very grossly distorted via cochlear implants, miraculous though they are for speech.

If music is well known to me, especially with words, I can, with an effort, ‘move’ the notes to where I remember they should be, but even so I need to be told the title or I rarely recognise it. Percussive instruments, e.g. banjo, sound a bit ‘musical’, and a solo piano likewise, but two or more notes at a time on one or more instruments overwhelm the implants, and a swelling organ or orchestra is an awful cacophony.

The old, wonderful thrill I used to get hearing organ, opera, choir or an orchestra has completely left me, sad to say.

Jennie: jennie.perrysmith@gmail.com

My experience is that I can still derive some pleasure from music, especially where the beat is very strong eg. Ravel’s Bolero. I find it easier to appreciate single instruments than a combination such as an orchestra. I love singing and whistling but only when I know no one can hear me. When I play a scale on a piano, the notes no longer sound harmonious to me. In one particular case two adjacent notes sound to me to be more than an octave apart!

Jacqueline: jacieast@optusnet.com.au

I am pretty sure everyone knows how much I enjoy music. Yes I do hear it just the way I used to. For me music is my relaxation and my life up without music I would be so sad.

I can hear music on the radio, my iPod, I can watch a music DVD, I have been to watch and ENJOY cover bands for the Beatles, Queen, Shania Twain, Madonna and Tina Turner hearing and understanding them just perfectly. I have also taken up piano lessons. After I went deaf and got Bert and Ernie I came to see that Music was so very important to me. I was not happy with just listening to it I needed to learn how it was playing and how to read music.

My amazing and wonderful husband bought me a huge keyboard for Christmas 2013. I have been teaching myself how to play and read music on my keyboard and I am loving every minute of it. If I had not gone deaf and got Bert and Ernie I would not be doing that.

My daughter Sarah is also a great support to me with music, she listens to music that is NEW, she finds the songs that she knows I will love that I have never heard before. She then puts them on her TV via a YouTube I watch and listen to the song then copy it and pop it on my iPod. I enjoy LMFAO, Pink, and Adele these artists are not ones that I listened to before going deaf and getting Bert and Ernie so it has nothing to do with what I remember. I do play these songs over and over and over again until I have what I really believe to be the real sound.

Now my next adventure is going to see Michael Buble on the 3rd May live. OHHH I am so excited. My daughters bought 3 gold tickets to see him. I have not been so excited in such a long time. I have never seen an artist live like this before and I just cannot wait. This was a gift from my daughters. They have been my helpers, supporters and the most amazing women. Now I get to see Michael Buble with my daughters by my side what can I say – LIFE JUST CANNOT GET BETTER THAN THAT.

I could waffle on and on about Music but if you have any questions about my experiences that I have not answered or waffled right past please feel free to ask, for me it is the one thing that I feel I am really good at.

Bob: rossybikein@gmail.com

Talk about great timing, you have asked this question some time ago, but that was when I had the Freedom & N5 and unfortunately my ‘music’ experiences were very limited. Now since mid 2012 when I started ‘trialling’ the N6, it became quite obvious that I was entering a ‘new’ world with music. I now listen to ABC Radio every morning at brekky. And when out and about in the car the Stereo is raging with every type of music you can imagine. Of course the ‘oldies’ are easier for me to understand (lyrics) but I am persevering with the ‘latest’ types and must admit It is all sounding quite good. This is just ‘another’ step UP on my awesome hearing journey and I hope ‘others’ are getting similar benefits.

Carol: carol.beaumont@gmail.com

Music? hmm… this is a bit hotchpotch I am afraid! Well I do enjoy music when I hear it. Love it in fact – specially classical pieces. BUT… I am lousy at differentiating between the more modern pop types of music… and another BUT – it is not a passion of mine…I haven’t been to a concert so I can’t really comment, but given how I hear it (it actually sounds quite natural to me) I would hazard a guess that I would really enjoy it.

I’ve never bothered with the radio as I find it annoying at best of times – but am amused when I hear other people’s radios blaring out of their cars when I am driving.