Sounds of a 5K

I started running around the time I got my CI.  I don’t describe myself as a serious runner, I just run every now and then.  Anyways, I had also ran a bit with my HA before my CI surgery.  I was quite surprised at the difference between running with a HA and a CI.

When I ran with my hearing aids, I couldn’t listen to music.  I gave up on trying to wear headphones with hearing aids a long time ago because I was always getting feedback.  Even on maximum volume I couldn’t always hear the music well and that volume usually bothered hearing people around me.  I could occasionally hear my feet hitting the pavement but barely.  I could sometimes hear a car but only if it was within 5-10 feet of me.

Oftentimes, I would just run without my hearing aids.  Some people run to escape or to have some quiet time to themselves.  Well, running without hearing aids was the perfect opportunity to get some quiet time to myself.

After getting my CI, I decided to give running with my CI a try.  I was amazed at how loud it was while running.  I was then baffled at why people ran to get quiet time!  I could hear dogs barking, cars a couple of blocks away, my noisy breathing, and my feet hitting the pavement with each step.  I kept getting distracted while running.

I decided to try listening to music while I ran.  It didn’t go over too well the first few times I tried even though I loved being able to plug my CI directly into my iTouch.  I kept hearing my feet hitting the pavement over the music which bothered me.  It helped once I got the music:outside environment ratio adjusted (I think it’s approximately 70:30 now, meaning I hear more of the music than environment noises).

Then I got annoyed because I couldn’t figure out a way to get my CI to stay on my head while running!  I tried headbands but it kept flying off my head.  I tried tightening the magnet but  would forget to loosen it up and would get a sore spot on my head a few days later.  I have heard people use wig tape which is something I’m going to try next!

I have ran/walked a few 5Ks.  I have done them without my CI.  I have walked with my CI while listening to music since the processor doesn’t bounce around as much while walking….it stays on!  I have tried running only to find that the noise caused by the CI bouncing around drove me bonkers and I would eventually take it off that is if it even stayed on long enough.

This last race, I decided I really wanted to listen to music.  I knew with my knee issue there was a good chance I might be walking  which would give me some time to enjoy music.  I forgot to hook my iTouch up to my CI prior to starting the race.  Then I realized I had never really heard the sounds of a race and since I would be running slower/walking….this would be a great chance to listen to what a 5K sounds like.

I could hear the announcer make announcements even though I couldn’t understand what was being said.  I could hear the countdown which was awesome and got me all pumped up.  Dennis had to alert me that they were singing the National Anthem but I quickly realized it was the crowd who was singing and not a solo person based on how it sounded.  🙂

As we started running, I could hear people talking around me with their runner buddies.  There were volunteers at some points throughout the race who would shout and cheer us on.  Sometimes I would hear them before I could see them.  I kept wondering what they were saying but still thought it was cool I could pick that out.  At one point, I saw the head of a volunteer (but couldn’t see the rest of her due to a big group of runners in front of me) and heard clapping.  I thought it sounded like more than just one person clapping.  I was confused until a minute later when I saw a second volunteer with one of those clapper noisemakers.

That was one of the very few moments in my life where I felt motivated by hearing cheers and clapping.  When you’re deaf, you are your own motivator and you cheer yourself on because you can’t hear others cheering you on.  It was an odd experience for me to actually be motivated by outside cheering.  I had a brief idea of what it must be like to hear people cheering you on while competing and it made me wonder if it really makes a difference in a player’s performance.  There are pros and cons of being deaf while playing sports, but that’s a topic for another post!

Dodgeball and Groundhog Race

Dodgeball league started a couple of weekends ago.  We play a practice game + 5 games each match which usually takes about 20-30 minutes total.  Each team has 6 players but we can play with a minimum of 5 without having to forfeit.  Since 13 people signed up we decided to form two teams instead of one big team to make sure everyone got a lot of playing time.

Team Cogito Ergo Boom:  Samantha, Cesar, Drough, Dennis, Pam, Brock, and me.

Team Captain Chris Cannonballs:  Chris, Brittany, Amir, Gretchen, Kevin, and Marie

I’m looking forward to the Sunday when both teams will play against each other!  🙂

I signed up for an underground race with Dennis and Andrea.  Unfortunately, my knee has been bothering me for the past couple of weeks.  I had to downgrade from 10K to 5K but am glad I was still able to participate.  Dennis and Andrea did awesome!  My final time was around 35 minutes which was better than I expected especially since I haven’t ran more than a mile at a time in a few months and I had to walk about 5-6 minutes of the run.  It was awesome to participate with over 3,000 other runners.  It was well organized and was a nice way to beat the winter blues.  It’s one of the largest (if not THE) underground race in the nation.

NRT-Nerve Response Telemetry and 20 Electrodes

NRT (Nerve Response Telemetry) is basically a test that a computer program runs on a CI (while a person is wearing it) to ensure the CI is stimulating the hearing nerve.

It’s pain-free and easy to do.  All I have to do is sit there, listen to the odd “tapping” sound, and watch the graphs.  It’s all automatic and is pretty interesting to watch the graph measure *I THINK* the action potential.  It does take about 15-20 minutes for it to go through all 22 electrodes.

Each CI manufacturer has a different number of array electrodes, mine has 22 (technically it has 24, 22 on the array and 2 outside the cochlea).  Each electrode generally corresponds to a certain part of the cochlea and stimulates different parts of the nerve.

Even though my audiologist had done a NRT right after I was activated, she wanted to do another one to ensure there wasn’t anything we were overlooking with the inability to hear sirens problem.  The results were basically the same as my original NRT test results in terms of electrodes #1 and #2 did not response.  I actually  have had those 2 electrodes turned off for a long time (not sure if I ever had a MAP with them on).  It’s possible that area of my nerve is “dead” but hasn’t been a cause for concern since I have not had any other issues *knocks on wood* with other electrodes.  So even though I have 22 electrodes, I am only using 20 of them right now.

I love learning something new!  Sometimes I wish I understood exactly all the details that go into programming a CI….that’s the science nerd in me.  🙂

MAP #36, Will you be the one?

As of March this year I will have had my CI for 2 years and I still can’t hear sirens.

I actually don’t remember hearing sirens with my HA until I moved to NYC.  I suspect it’s because I was always inside when there were sirens (e.g. in the car, in the house, etc.) and couldn’t hear them from inside.  I also never had many opportunities to listen for sirens (thankfully).

When I moved to NYC, I definitely had a lot more exposure to sirens.  I would oftentimes take the subway and walk around the city.  Hence, I would be outside when police cars would zoom by.  I easily learned to identify sirens and could hear sirens in the distance (never more than a block away) if I was walking around outside.  However, I could NEVER hear sirens if I was driving around in my car.

When I got my CI activated I noticed other CI-users could easily hear sirens pretty far off and oftentimes before we could even see the police/ambulance/fire truck.  I could NOT hear them no matter how hard I tried.  A couple of times I could barely make it out if I was practically right next to the siren, someone told me to listen for them, and if I focused.  Even then I’m not sure if I was actually hearing the sirens or not.

At first I thought maybe it was something that would take my brain a while to recognize.  For example, with my HA…. when I locked my car doors with the remote control…I could hear the click notifying me that the doors were locked.  I could not hear that doggone (drove me bonkers) thing for a few months when I first got my CI, but now I can.

Then time went by and I kind of let it slide.  That is until I borrowed a HA to try in my unimplanted ear (more on that later).  One evening when I was wearing both my CI and HA, I walked out into the parking lot and guess what the first thing I heard was??  A siren!  I know for a fact I heard it only with the HA and not the CI.  I looked up, waited, and sure enough a police car went zooming by.  I heard it so clearly with the HA and had no problems identifying it even though it had been a year and half since I had really heard sirens.  I couldn’t hear the siren at all with the CI even though I tried to!

I discussed this with my audiologist and she had me come in.  She played some sound clips of sirens in her office and I had no problem hearing them.  It appears to be an issue of not being able to pick it out in the real world.  We weren’t sure if it was a MAP issue or my brain not cooperating.  My brain may just not be able to sort sounds out well enough to pick out sirens when there’s a lot of other sounds going on.

For a few months, we have been playing with the MAPs to see if it makes any difference in my ability to hear sirens or not.  Props to my audiologist for working on this.  She has asked quite a few other people.  I think I have them all baffled.  🙂

Today, I went in for another MAP (#36).  My audiologist wanted to experiment to see if any tweaks in my MAP would make any difference.

We’ll see!  Maybe I should be sitting next to a police station or something and see if I can hear those sirens.  My interpreter did (half-joking) suggest that I should just march down to the fire  station and have them show off their truck along with the sirens.  🙂

Music Tickles

I met up with a few friends tonight and we eventually ended up at a grill/bar place to sit and chat.  At some point a DJ started playing some music.  Even though we’re deaf, we all enjoy listening to music and feeling music.

Let me back up a little bit before continuing with the point of this blog post.  When I was living in NYC I would go out with my hearing classmates every once in a while in Manhattan and we would always end up in some place with loud music.  Every once in a while I would get this uncomfortable feeling like I was being tickled but no one else seemed to be affected and there was never even a hint of a reaction so I always thought it was just me.

Anyways, while we were listening to the music and talking about which song we liked the beats of…the topic of how we tend to feel things before we hear things came up.  Sometimes, if something is so loud that I can feel it…I almost don’t hear it.  Right after that discussion, a song came on and a friend said….

“ooo…..that tickles my butt..”

We knew exactly what she meant.  Throughout the night random songs would come on and even though we could hear the music…our senstation of touch just overtakes what we hear….and certain songs have certain vibrations that just tickles you!

There was even one song what was so ticklish that we had to take our arms off the table and lift our feet off the floors!  We commented about how hearing people don’t seem to react to this and we wondered if music ever feels ticklish to hearing people……

Sunny and Snowy Days

We got about 6 inches or 8 inches or 9 inches of snow (depending on where you measure and who you ask) yesterday!  I turn into a little kid when it snows especially when it’s sunny!

I spent 2 hours shoveling our driveway and then went for a walk.  It was beautiful and peaceful to see nothing but sparkling white stuff everywhere.  I always feel bad when I leave footprints in something so beautiful!  Afterwards, Morgan and I met up to go sledding.

There’s an awesome hill in town where you can get some speed (it’s more steep than it looks in the pictures)!  There are signs posted saying “no sledding” but tell that to the 100-150 people who were there sledding with us.  🙂  It’s the kind of hill where you may break your sled…..I always see several left behind broken sleds!

Hello WordPress!

Bye Blogger! You were a great blog site for a couple of years.

Hello WordPress!

I have imported previous Blogger posts to WordPress and you can find them all right here.

I decided to move to WordPress since the other 3 blogs I write for happen to be WordPress also. It’s easier to manage all 4 of my blogs in one place.  🙂

My new blog website is and be closed in a few weeks so be sure to update! 🙂

Be sure to check out some features I have added to this blog (right column):
RSS Feeder: Click on this to subscribe if you use a RSS Reader
E-Mail Subscription: Enter your e-mail address if you want posts e-mailed directly to you
Search for a Keyword: Instead of tags and categories, you can type in a keyword to pull up relevant posts


TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.”

I don’t know how many times I have clicked on a link only to discover it was a TED video which was always disappointing!  It was always about a topic that sounded fascinating and would bother me that I didn’t get the chance to learn more about it.  TED videos weren’t subtitled a few years ago.  After a while I got in the habit of not bothering to click “play” on the video once I realized it was a TED video…..until recently.

A few weeks ago I forgot that TED videos weren’t captioned and saw a video about genetics that I just had to watch.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up but much to my surprise it was subtitled!  I started clicking on other videos and discovered that many other videos had subtitles as well.

I did some research and learned that in 2009 TED took steps to start subtitling videos through their TED Open Translation Project with volunteer translators thanks to a sponsorship from Nokia.  They currently have videos published in over 80 languages.  For more information about the project go to TED Translations.  

Here’s a quote from their website that is music to my eyes…..Every talk on will now have English subtitles, which can be toggled on or off by the user.”

It’s an amazing feeling to be able to access these videos.  It’s awesome knowing I now have access to exciting and groundbreaking ideas!

Major thanks and props to TED and their volunteer translators!

January 2011 in Pictures

Hope everyone has had a good start to 2011!  I’ve had a pretty busy year so far.  A few of us got together for a quiet but fun NYE party.  A couple of days later I left for a week of snowboarding in Colorado.
We were able to get an awesome deal and were able to snowboard at Vail, Keystone, A-Basin, Beaver Creek, and Breckenridge.  It was a very laid-back trip and we oftentimes split up during the day to snowboard wherever we wanted to.  Beautiful scenery and 3 days of powder!  🙂
After returning from Colorado, I flew to D.C. for the day and was able to visit a couple of museums.  
Pointing to a 14Ker I hiked last summer