Category Archives: November 15, 2013

Batteries not included…

It’s hard to believe that my last post was almost two weeks ago. I’ve started getting emails asking if everything was alright and asking when to expect the next post. Long-and-short everything is going much better than expected! I will fill you in on the details of what’s happened the past two weeks in my next post. Most importantly, thank you for your kind emails and comments regarding my recent posts and getting the device turned on. I’ve missed writing!

This post is just a quick update on the technology front. The items on the table in the image below include features, programs, batteries and plugs I use to communicate – including all the periphery gadgets required for my cochlear implant device. Below this image is a short description of each of the numbered items, to give you a sense of how “connected” I truly am…

Batteries not included...

(1) Smart Phone: Text; Email; Google Hangout (chat); WordPress; Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; and phone. This Smart Phone is also linked to my Cochlear Implant device (6) via Bluetooth technology so I can hear on the phone (talking is easy…). Plug required to charge phone battery.

(2) FM Listening device: Connects to my Cochlear Implant device (6) via FM signals. The FM device is perfect for group meetings where the device microphone can be placed in the middle of a conference table or held by individuals sitting across the room. Their voices are transmitted from the microphone directly to my processor and it is as clear as if they were sitting right next to me. A nice feature is the listening range. For example, I can leave the device in the conference room, step into a nearby restroom, and still hear what everyone is saying. Could be handy at times… Plug required to charge FM device battery.

(3) Electric dehumidifier with fan: The processor (6) is placed in this dehumidifier every night to ensure all moisture, etc. Is sucked out of device. Plug required to run fan.

(4) Battery charger for external Cochlear Implant Device: My processor (6) has two batteries – The larger one has a battery life of seven hours while the smaller one has a battery life of four hours. When the battery begins to die I hear a warning beep. If I don’t take it out, I hear a second beep. If I still don’t take it out I don’t hear a third beep; instead I hear nothing at all. This charger has four battery charging slots which I am beginning to think I’ll need in order to get through the day. When the battery is charging it has a blue color shining from its slot. When it is fully charged the slot has a green “go” color. Plug required to charge device batteries.

(5) Pebble Smart Watch: This little device has already proved to be quite handy. First, it includes a vibrating alarm to wake me up in the mornings since I don’t have my device on. Second, the watch is connected to my Smart Phone via Bluetooth technology and will vibrate every time I get a text, calendar appointment notification, or email. I turned off the option to be vibrated every time I received an email since I would be buzzing all day long… Plug required to charge Pebble Watch battery.

(6) Cochlear implant device which includes microphones, processor and transmitter: This is the key external device that connects me to the hearing world. An amazing piece of technology from Advanced Bionics. Please note that I no longer hear anything through my ears; rather, the microphones are picking up sound and translating them to digital signals that run through the processor to the external transmitter. This transmitter connects to the internal receiver and stimulator or me (7) and is held in place with magnets; some located on the transmitter which connect to a magnet located under my skin on the receiver. Charged battery (4) required.

(7) Me… which also happens to include the receiver and stimulator located under my skin: This is the key internal device that connects me to the hearing world. Another amazing piece of technology from Advanced Bionics. Recap based on my understanding to date: from the external microphones sounds are converted to digital signals in the external processor. From the processor these digital signals are sent to the external transmitter, then to the internal receiver, then to the internal stimulator. Electrodes from the internal stimulator make their way through a hole drilled in my skull, to the cochlea where these digital signals are then relayed to my brain. Please note that my head is propped on the end of the table because I am now officially part of the digital equipment category. No batteries required – just food and water.

(8) Glasses: This instrument is not exactly new, nor is it digital; however, it is important for keeping me in the hearing world. How so? Without my glasses I wouldn’t be able to read lips! Although I can hear a lot of what people are saying, it is not perfect. I still rely on lip-reading to help put the pieces together. For example, the other day I got my hair cut. The person cutting my hair asked me to remove my hearing device. He then instructed me to remove my glasses. I said, “wait a minute, I need my glasses to hear you!”  No batteries required.

(9) Computer (Mac Air): Email; Google Hangout (chat and video); WordPress; Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; GoToMeeting (video); FaceTime (video); Texting (Mightytext). Video conference calls help because I am able to read peoples’ lips. Plug required to charge battery.

(10) Ipad: Email; Google Hangout (chat and video); WordPress; Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; GoToMeeting (video); FaceTime (video); Texting (Mightytext). Video conference calls help because I am able to read peoples’ lips. Plug required to charge battery.

(11) MyPilot: A remote control to manage a number of settings for my external device (6). Plug required to charge battery.

(12) Backpack: Advanced Bionics provided this backpack as part of my cochlear implant device bundle. At first I thought,”why the heck would I need a backpack.” Well dear reader, as you can see from the devices spread across the table, this backpack, which includes many pockets (10 external pockets and a slew of internal ones), has been quite useful. No batteries required.

Take-away: I can’t be too far away from a plug; Camping is not a high priority; I would be in serious trouble in a post-apocalyptic world without electricity. Then again, I guess everyone would be in a world of hurt so not hearing might actually be an advantage…