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Guide for a music rehabilitation: step by step.

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I was slated to go to a school for the performing arts before I chose to go to law school. I was offered a full scholarship as a violin forte. But, after receiving a full scholarship to St Johns Law School in NY, I decided to go there, get my law degree and continue my true passion of music after that. Well, three days after becoming a lawyer, I was forced to undergo the first of what would turn out to be 13 brain surgeries for a brain tumor.  I was still able to hear well immediately after, but had to learn all my body skills again...walking, talking, seeing, dexterity, cognitive, and everything else. And by the time I did, the hearing problems started...never to resume my passion for music, never picking up my violin again. 

My violin sits on display in my living room as you walk into it. I see it every day, but never thought I’d someday be able to play it again. I had played it in concerts, my church folk group, theatrical venues in both acting on stage while playing it, and it the orchestra pit, and most importantly, for a one person audience, ME! Reading these articles about music put tears in my eyes, as does writing this. To thing, I’m going to soon be able to hear it sing again on my shoulder...thank you so much for sharing all this. 

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Hi Ivana and Cara, We gave my CIs quite a work out this weekend! It was awesome! What a difference from before. Saturday evening we went to a music concert by Bonnie Raitt. There was an opening m

I miss Adam too! Ivana, We were just discussing how some people get disappointed and stop training today. I've noticed that many people start their hearing journey actively seeking information, pre

Thanks! I would recommend that people listen to all different kinds of music with realistic expectations. I did not add music into my training in the first few months after activation. I was busy e

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@Hearing Again

I understand completely although your musical skills far exceed my own.  Check out Beats of Cochlea on YouTube.  For the past several years Med-El has run a contest for a paid trip to participate in it.  My friend @VeroNika participated a couple of years ago.  She is an amazing pianist who composes her own music!

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WOW MUSIC MOMENT!  Haven’t been able to pick up my violin since December 7, 1994. My personal Pearl Harbor day. That was the date of my first of what would turn into thirteen brain tumor surgeries, causing my hearing problems. The day since I have never been able to play my violin again.  CI implanted in September of this year, activated in October. Reading all this great stuff about music, I can dream of someday soon when I can again pick my violin up and make her cry and sing like she used to. 

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  • 3 months later...

Five weeks behind me. 

I called the high frequency sounds over speech a second layer. 

I only figured it out on my third mapping it is all the sibilance from the c, t, and s. 

It will gradually join together. 

After my activation I got home played my guitar, not so good. On to the PC and through some of my favourite classical stuff. Drums great, piano not bad. 

Now drums, piano, tuba, trombone, cello, violin, flute all sounding pretty good. 

Big orchestral bars a wonderful squelchy sound. 

Joan Sutherland and Kathleen battle sound good. 

Normal pop, Sinatra, mel tormey, Susan Boyle all squelchy. 

I'm going to listen to Susan Boyle every day until it comes right. 

I think trying to separate 2 semitones is not necessary. If I play a scale I hear every note. If I play f then e on the top string the e sounds higher. 

If I play a on the top string I hear two separate notes. 

Two fantastic cli programs. 




They work on xp and win 7

I could go on but I don't want to bore all of you. 

Happy listening. 


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Five weeks down the road I went to a live concert. 

Wagner the flying Dutchman,, shotakovich piano no 2, and Berlioz symphony fantastic. 

The whole was amazing. My favourite Berlioz the last part which I know blew me away , almost like before I had hearing aids.  I had removed my left ear aid before the concert. that ear hears about a quarter of the cli. 

Yes there were a lot of squelches but they somehow got buried. 

The piano which with recorded music sounds better. At the concert  I could hear the hammer hit the wires on high and low notes. Slow passages distort, plumby. 

I listened to the same concert broadcast this evening not nearly as good. The loud parts much more squelchy. 

When I got home I got out my acoustic guitar, it sounded absolutely terrible. 

So what can I say? Nothing is predictable. I do think good headphones bring out the worst in music but they are better than Bluetooth on the cli alone. 

.Next Week I'm going to an organ recital .what can I loose. We can go to the rehearsal in Capetown city hall for a good price. 

Did anyone say life is boring? 

Happy listening 


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I bought a piano keyboard and am re-learning to play. The last time I played piano was when I was 10, but still, that was with my profound hearing loss. On the keyboard, I don't hear the high keys, they sound more like "clacks" as it bottoms out. I went with this idea that if I play the piano, I would be able to connect the notes to the keys played, to the sound I perceive. It'd be a way for me to mentally relearn hearing sound frequencies and matching it to what would be expected to be natural sounds. I know it'll be an uphill battle at first, so I plan to focus on the simpler tunes with one or two note combos initially instead of diving right into the 3-note chords right away.

This would be supplemental/secondary activity for the speech perception activities that I would do to relearn hearing.

Given your experiences, would this be useful for me?

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You have no choice. I think the piano will be good and I definitely think you should play. I'm going to continue with scales on my guitar, but have moved to my mandolin for songs. I must add that I am a lousy guitar player but I enjoy it. 


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I'd like to add some thoughts. 

Each one of us will have started from a different set of circumstances and after switch on will experience a unique result. 

So I enjoy hearing how each person relates how their hearing improves, I definitely helps to know things will improve. 

There's no going back. I'm going to spend as much time as I can with all the resources I have to attain the best results from my new device. My thinking and incidentally my audiologist agrees,  the more I practice the more things will improve. 

What I must do, is decide on a few activities and measure my improvement. 

I do keep notes of new things I hear and experiment with. 

My conclusion... If you want to try something, do it and keep on doing it until it gets better. 

I must stop now and play scales 😀 



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  • 1 month later...

Greetings all. 

Fifth mapping done. After a disappointing fourth mapping.

Even though a mapping turns out under par the old brain keeps adjusting. 

My mapping is set for five electrodes for response between threshold and most comfortable. At most comfortable all sounds should have the same volume. 

The frequency ranges from somewhere around 200hz upto 8000hz. 

What more can be done to improve our hearing? 

One observation intrigues me is that I can clearly hear between 40 and 200 hz. From the mapping point of view I should hear zero and it's definitely not residual. 

How about some more texts on take  back the beat ( a new app by the way) 

For most of us the high frequencies have been long gone but now percussion is better than ever. It's supposed to be difficult to adjust to sounds that have been missing. 

I'm waiting for supper and should stop rambling. 

Wishing all continued progress. So far I'm incredibly lucky. I have a fabulous Audi.  





Edited by pdk
Wrong title for app
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I tested the app Bring Back the Beat and I do not find it helpful.  I chatted with another CI user who also tested it out and she felt the same way.  It is not an app I will be recommending.  Have you tried it?

Am I understanding you correctly?  You only have five electrodes active?  Is that by choice or due to problems with the other electrodes.

Med-El electrode arrays have 12 programmable electrodes.  I participated in Vanderbilt’s image guided CI Programming and am happily using those selected electrodes only, so I have 8 active electrodes on each side.  I can choose to use all 12 electrodes but things sound better for me, especially musical pitch, with these targeted eight electrodes.

My CIs give me access to 100-8500 Hz.

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Hi Mary Beth 

I have 22 electrodes all working as they should. I think the mapping only works with a few and the assumes the rest are around the same. I may be wrong but to setup 22 would take too long. 

Do you think by reducing some electrodes it cuts down cross channel interference. Have you got that setting as one program? 

I cannot download bring back the beat in SA. 

It's very time consuming to analyze the distortion, it varies for each instrument and which recording you listen to. 

It's encouraging to hear patches of almost perfect sound in very complex classical pieces. I can still remember how my favourite pieces should sound. 

When I listen for enjoyment  I use my large sennheizer head phones and my left ear still gives a fair result. I hope it helps the brain translate the CI.  

It would be good to be allowed to spend a couple of days with the mapping software. 

So Mary after all these years can you set down rules for listening that will give the most benefit?


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Hi Peter @pdk

Med-El has 12 electrodes.  Vanderbilt image guided CI programming research has been underway for several years on all three US FDA approved brands.  Last time I looked at their data, 72% of ears performed better with the image guided MAPs.  They use CT imaging and their special software to determine which, if any, electrodes are stimulating the same area (overlapping) and then recommend targeted electrodes to turn off which will still provide the user with full stimulation.


Our clinical audiologists can make changes to the MAPs and we can always turn electrodes back on.


I participated in December 2016/January 2017 and still prefer MAPs using only those 8 targeted electrodes.  My audiologist has adjusted those MAPs over the years.  She is amazing.


I participate in CI research every year and during research some tests use all 12 electrodes and some tests use my targeted 8 electrodes.


Here is a link to how my music journey progressed.  It has been amazing and I am so thankful to Med-El for the full return of music in my life.


I wish you the best on your music journey Peter.  Keep us posted.



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On 3/11/2016 at 3:30 PM, Mary Beth said:

My first CI (right) didn't really take to music until month 3 or 4. My second CI (left) loved music by week 4.

I listened to familiar music and just enjoyed whatever I could get from it. Great percussion, more and more instruments, a phrase here and there, etc. I approached music as something I would have to train. I listen to music often. I listened whether it sounded good or bad. I exposed my brain to the way music sounds through my CIs and let my brain figure it out.

Now I can learn new lyrics just by listening to new songs. I am also finding out that some lyrics I thought I knew are incorrect!

I attend musical shows and in fact will be attending a concert tomorrow.

Exposure, patience and plasticity! Smile

I love music.

I hope that works for me.  I listen to familiar songs and my brain fills in the blanks from memory.  It still sounds tinny.  Any unfamiliar music is just noise. It’s been two years since I got my first implant.  I hope to hear music better with two implants.  I’ll be watching for all the tips and tricks to hear music again.  I’m a yoga instructor now.  I play music CDs that I owned before losing my hearing.  But I can’t hear them anymore, not fully.  When music is turned down low in other instructors’ yoga classes, I can be unaware it is even playing.  

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