Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My New Toy

This is a post has two different sections. First I’ll cover the topic about my new toy, and then I’ll close with some pictures. Does that make up for my absence in the Blogosphere??

I just got a digital camera. FINALLY. Yay!! It’s a Canon PowerShot A470. It's simple to use and I don't need anything fancy or complicated. (No, my poor brain couldn't handle too much information. LOL)

I love my new camera. When I look through it to snap a picture, it’s perfect.
It brings in just the right amount of light I need to see. So much easier than my old camera. It was getting hard to peer through the little M&M-sized lens. First I had to find it, and then I had to get the right angle so it wasn’t “black” (when looking at the sides of the lens, and not straight through that little peep-hole). It was always frustrating to find my “focus” point. Here, the digital has a wide screen!! I have no problem finding the "window" to take aim and shoot. I can DELETE bad pictures. Yay.

I carried my camera into the curtain-darkened living room in the late afternoon. Looking through the camera lens, it was like I had perfect night vision. (I would love to get a pair of glasses that worked like the camera. Wouldn’t that be cool??)

I was able to see “Onyx”, our black Lab, on the floor-plain as day. I put the camera down, just below my nose, and I could barely see her. The camera was like wearing night vision googles without that greenish cast.

I was also able to see some DVD cases on the floor next to the TV (that shouldn’t have been there). Again, I move the camera and directed my gaze to the area where the DVD cases were. I couldn’t really see that they were there. (Good thing it’s not a high traffic area, or I’d have trampled on them and we’d have some broken DVD cases.

You know, I would not mind getting a pair of glasses that worked like a digital camera lens. How about that, eyeglass manufacturers?? It just made everything brighter and clearer.

Can you see it? Big news in the media. New digital glasses for the low-vision/visually impaired splashed across billboards, TV ads, magazine ads, and Internet ads.

Slogan: Digital Glasses, anytime, day or night, indoors or outdoors.

Glasses that self-adjust to brightness and darkness…..

Sigh. A girl can dream, right?? :)


Part Two: Petey and Me

Back in August, when I got activated/hooked-up/turned on with the CI (cochlear implant), I said that I would have some pictures of me with the CI processor and magnet. I didn’t have a picture to upload that I really liked. Not with my old camera, anyway. (I have this “identity crisis” when I see pictures of myself. You know how it is. You see a picture of yourself and you think, ‘That’s me?’ That’s not how I see myself.' But you know it is you because you remember the picture being taken. (Maybe the mirror is a big fat liar. LOL.)

Anyway, I can’t believe it’s been about five months since activation and six months since the surgery. A lot has happened since then and “Petey” (the CI) and I are quite comfortable with each other now.

I am still deaf, even though I have the CI. To me, it’s a tool to help me hear better, like the hearing aid. It isn’t a cure for deafness. I am not sorry I got the CI, either. I hear more environmental sounds and I pick up more speech. I struggle the most in noisy surroundings and in the dark. Pair them them together and it’s even more challenging because I am a visual person. I need light. I need facial expressions and body language. I can’t see that in the dim light. If there’s a lamp, I can see the area around the lamp, but everything else is shadowy silhouettes, so I’m not exactly a “fun” person to talk to in the dark. :)

So, here are some pictures of Petey and me. Don’t we make a cute couple?? Winks.

Petey and Me

See the wisp of hair that isn't quite long enough for the ponytail? That's the hair that was shaved during the surgery. It's growing out and has a long ways to go before it matches the length of the back of my hair. You really can't see it when my hair is down and really, it doesn't bother me. Fornow, it's my "badge of honor." :)

Shari, signing off. Have a good week.

Monday, January 05, 2009

What is an FM System? How Does It Work?

Off and on I talk about my FM system, a Phonak Zoomlink. It has the microphone and settings (surround sound or omni-sound, partial focus, and very focused (directly aimed at the speaker’s voice or object I want to listen to). This new receiver is custom-made for the Cochlear Freedom. It really puts the sound of the speaker, who may be thirty feet away, directly in my ear, as though as if I am standing right next to him/her. It is an assistive listening device (ALD).

Because I use an FM system, I know how it works and forget that some people don’t have a clue to what I am talking about, even those who have hearing loss and never used it.

Let’s get “clueful,” shall we?

(Source: )

An FM system is a wireless system that transmits sound directly from source to ear. It consists of an FM microphone and one or two FM receivers. (This just means some people just use one receiver for one or two-one for each hearing aid/cochlear implant processor.)

The FM microphone is actually a microphone connected to, or inside, a radio transmitter. The microphone picks up the desired signal, which is often the voice of a person that you want to listen to. The transmitter then sends it via radio waves directly to the FM receiver. The FM receiver, in turn, is connected to the hearing instrument. The sound is delivered to the hearing instrument, the hearing instrument applies the right amplification and the voice can be heard as if the talker was speaking from a very short distance.

There are also Phonak FM receivers for cochlear implants and bone-anchored hearing aids. However, the basic principle remains the same.

In a previous post (Squeezed In), I talked about how I now have a new receiver for my FM transmitter(Phonak Zoomlink) because I only had one receiver for the hearind aid ear; I didn't have one for the new processor for the cochlear implant.

Here are some older posts I made about the receiver for my hearing aids:

My, What Big Ears You Have

The Boot

I hope this post gives you a much clearer understanding of how FM systems work.

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