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Tim McKenzie

Seeking Implanted Musicians...

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Hello,

 

My name is Tim McKenzie. I'm a musician (acoustic guitar) and was identified as an implant candidate 3 years ago. I wear two hearing aids and am now seriously considering a “one implant/one hearing aid” set-up. As part of the process of deciding whether to do this I’m extremely eager to connect with other musicians (acoustic guitarists, in particular) who may have a similar set-up, if any (i.e., one implant/one hearing aid).

 

I am 66 and began wearing hearing aids, off and on, 15 years ago. It was then I learned that my hearing loss likely started as result of bacterial meningitis when I was a young teenager …from which, it was thought, I had managed to recover unscathed. Word is now that, in addition, the meningitis may have caused bone growth (ossification?) in my cochlea, perhaps rendering the CI option moot. A scan will be conducted to check this out.

 

My speech recognition is poor (just under 20%), but if folks speak to me slowly, I find I am still able to converse face-to-face, one-on-one in a quiet situation. (Strangely, this is true even when the “mute” program on my hearing aids is active?) But, with the slightest background noise or more than one person talking at time, I’m pretty much out of luck.   

 

When playing music with others (an increasingly difficult situation) I need the hearing aids on in order to hear my own guitar, but then it can sound tiny, brash,sharp, etc. In addition to very noisy situations, I sometimes use the mute program on my hearing aids when playing my guitar alone because, with the residual hearing I do have, the sound is so much “warmer” and “natural” ...even without the mid- and high frequencies.

 

I’ve read up on both the Cochlear Nucleus and the MED-EL Synchrony devices and find MED-EL’s emphasis on reaching further into the cochlea to enhance not only speech recognition but music appreciation to be compelling.

 

My poor speech recognition is a tangible and isolating burden but, as I mentioned above, I am still able to “get by” if the situation is just right. It’s just that I don’t know that I could “get by” without being able to play music. I’m not tone deaf (in fact, I play at a fairly high level) so I’m encouraged to think that with one implant and one hearing aid (thus retaining the residual hearing in the aided ear) that I might still be able to enjoy some of the natural sound of music (and my own guitars in particular) while eventually becoming better able to recognize the spoken (or sung!) words of my grandchildren in particular …and everybody else.

 

But I also have read enough to understand it may be naïve – unrealistic even - to hope for such an outcome. I will deeply appreciate any advice or experience any implanted musician - or anyone really in this forum, really -  may be willing to share regarding their experience with hearing music.

 

Thanks,

 

Tim

p.s. Happy Holidays!

 

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Hi welcome to Hear peers!! You have definitely come to the right place. I am also an amateur musician. Well I used to be more of a novice but not now. Well as your medical situation is unique to you we all have this! For me I couldn't go without being able to hear my kids. I couldn't hear my organ or guitar at all anymore. I made the decision to be implanted as well. After just three weeks I was able to hear my organ again!! I bawled my eyes out!! It's not perfect yet but I will get there. If it's possible for you. Go for two implants the sound quality is far more clear and concise. I have one implant now and one hearing aid. My implant is doing way better than my happening aided ear!! Others will tell you the same thing. Others will tell you about the different types of implants as well. I wish you all the best in your journey. Yes it's hard work with the rehab training but us worth every minute!!!

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Hi Tim,

Welcome. I was implanted in February and October 2015. For me, the CIs have returned music to my life. I love listening to music and can understand many lyrics- even from songs that are new to me. Everyone's experience varies. I train everyday and it has definitely helped me!

Best of luck to you,

Mary Beth

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Hi Tim,

I'm a big music fan and have been considering learning an instrument now I can hear "normally".

I was implanted 5 years ago and not long after activation I went to a four day world music festival called WOMAD - started by Peter Gabriel. I was amazed by the range of instruments I could hear and it still surprises me sometimes.

I remember taking my iPod to a programming session early on and playing some of my favourite tracks - I didn't recognise any due to all the extra sounds I was hearing, not just the bass and low stuff.

In my research before surgery I was in contact with a guy who has a Cochlear and a

Med El and he's a music teacher. He had the Cochlear first and said that when he got the Med El music was richer and had more depth.

As others said, we are all on a unique journey and your excperiences may differ from others - but it seems you don't have much to loose by having one implant at least.

Good luck with your decision , please keep us informed on whast you decide to do.

Matt

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Interesting topic, as well as the comments. Welcome Tim. :)

Yes - it's possible that you will be able to play music in totally extra dimension. This is an interesting link about "Beats of Cochlea Music Festival" where implanted musicians are gathered in order to express their ability to play music:

http://www.medel.com/blog/med-el-beats-of-cochlea-music-festival/

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Hello,

 

My name is Tim McKenzie. I'm a musician (acoustic guitar) and was identified as an implant candidate 3 years ago. I wear two hearing aids and am now seriously considering a “one implant/one hearing aid” set-up. As part of the process of deciding whether to do this I’m extremely eager to connect with other musicians (acoustic guitarists, in particular) who may have a similar set-up, if any (i.e., one implant/one hearing aid).

 

I am 66 and began wearing hearing aids, off and on, 15 years ago. It was then I learned that my hearing loss likely started as result of bacterial meningitis when I was a young teenager …from which, it was thought, I had managed to recover unscathed. Word is now that, in addition, the meningitis may have caused bone growth (ossification?) in my cochlea, perhaps rendering the CI option moot. A scan will be conducted to check this out.

 

My speech recognition is poor (just under 20%), but if folks speak to me slowly, I find I am still able to converse face-to-face, one-on-one in a quiet situation. (Strangely, this is true even when the “mute” program on my hearing aids is active?) But, with the slightest background noise or more than one person talking at time, I’m pretty much out of luck.   

 

When playing music with others (an increasingly difficult situation) I need the hearing aids on in order to hear my own guitar, but then it can sound tiny, brash,sharp, etc. In addition to very noisy situations, I sometimes use the mute program on my hearing aids when playing my guitar alone because, with the residual hearing I do have, the sound is so much “warmer” and “natural” ...even without the mid- and high frequencies.

 

I’ve read up on both the Cochlear Nucleus and the MED-EL Synchrony devices and find MED-EL’s emphasis on reaching further into the cochlea to enhance not only speech recognition but music appreciation to be compelling.

 

My poor speech recognition is a tangible and isolating burden but, as I mentioned above, I am still able to “get by” if the situation is just right. It’s just that I don’t know that I could “get by” without being able to play music. I’m not tone deaf (in fact, I play at a fairly high level) so I’m encouraged to think that with one implant and one hearing aid (thus retaining the residual hearing in the aided ear) that I might still be able to enjoy some of the natural sound of music (and my own guitars in particular) while eventually becoming better able to recognize the spoken (or sung!) words of my grandchildren in particular …and everybody else.

 

But I also have read enough to understand it may be naïve – unrealistic even - to hope for such an outcome. I will deeply appreciate any advice or experience any implanted musician - or anyone really in this forum, really -  may be willing to share regarding their experience with hearing music.

 

Thanks,

 

Tim

p.s. Happy Holidays!

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Mmm... Christa - unfortunately your comment is lost...:(

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Hi Tim

 

I am implanted 5 months ago. It's awesome!

However music is one of those things that is taking a bit of getting used to for sure.

If it is a song you know, then I find it easy to identify.

If it is a new song, then I must really concentrate to get the words and doesn't sound to great .

However with the implant at least I can get some words, where as before there was nothing. 

 

My daughter plays guitar (acoustic and electric) and my other daughter plays the drums and the piano.

Electric guitar doesn't sound so hot LOL (but they are kind of distorted to begin with) However after some practice with the cochlear, an acoustic guitar is starting to sound "normal" and good again.

It's a big change at first.

 

I found listening to my ipod  a lot has helped a great deal with training the ear to hear music (in a new way, the cochlear implant way lol).

Although sometimes music just sounds like static, and not good at all. It really depends on the kind of music you listen to. But it does get better and better.

I really like music!! It was one of the things I missed the most! I am happy to have it back, even if it doesn't sound good all the time. I think it will continue to get better and better the longer I/you have your cochlear.

Merry Christmas!!

Christa

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Mmm... Christa - unfortunately your comment is lost... :(

I'm not sure what happened but it came back LOL Weird eh?

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I'm not sure what happened but it came back LOL Weird eh?

 

It doesn't matter - the most important that it is here now, isn't it? ;):D

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Hi Tim

 

I am implanted 5 months ago. It's awesome!

However music is one of those things that is taking a bit of getting used to for sure.

If it is a song you know, then I find it easy to identify.

If it is a new song, then I must really concentrate to get the words and doesn't sound to great .

However with the implant at least I can get some words, where as before there was nothing. 

 

My daughter plays guitar (acoustic and electric) and my other daughter plays the drums and the piano.

Electric guitar doesn't sound so hot LOL (but they are kind of distorted to begin with) However after some practice with the cochlear, an acoustic guitar is starting to sound "normal" and good again.

It's a big change at first.

 

I found listening to my ipod  a lot has helped a great deal with training the ear to hear music (in a new way, the cochlear implant way lol).

Although sometimes music just sounds like static, and not good at all. It really depends on the kind of music you listen to. But it does get better and better.

I really like music!! It was one of the things I missed the most! I am happy to have it back, even if it doesn't sound good all the time. I think it will continue to get better and better the longer I/you have your cochlear.

Merry Christmas!!

Christa

 

 

It will definitely be only better - just good old time is what an implantee need because, sound process and regular speech are not processed by the same neural path. :)

Practice makes a master and an artist. ;)

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Welcome to hearpeers!!

I have 2 CIs for almost 5 years now. Music took the longest for me to come back, but once it did, I was very happily surprised. I can remember a few years ago listening to a song and realizing there was a Bass solo that I didn't know was there until after I got my CIs

I know of a CI recipient that plays in an orchestra. Following her BLOG was a big help in choosing MEDEL. Her name is Sarah.

I don't remember the name of the Blog. I believe it was Sarahsera.

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she was also an engineer and did a great deal of research before choosing Medel.

I just did a quick search and couldn't find the BLOG. If I do, will let you know

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I remember I did find it also - it was pretty informative...:)

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Can't seem to locate it. Let me know if you find it Ivana. I will continue looking

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Of course....if only I have saved it....:(

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Holy smokes! Thanks everyone. I'm a little embarrassed to just now be seeing these helpful and thoughtful responses. I kept checking back for several days but neglected to refresh the tab I had left open after posting and figured "...well, it's the holiday season and everyone must be as crazy distracted as me!"

 

Good to know that's not true! 

 

Ivana, Thanks for the "Beats of Cochlea Music Festival" link.

 

Adam & Ivana, thanks for searching for the posting from the implanted orchestra musician. Please let me know if you find it. I performed professionally, full time for decades (and still do, but less often) so I’m particularly interested in connecting with other performing musicians who may have been implanted. My biggest worry is that I might never get back to hearing even the currently compromised sound quality of my beautiful guitars.

 

Adam, you mentioned you were happily surprised when music came back, but you didn’t mention how long it took? I already have gigs and concerts scheduled for next year which, except for the ones through March, could be cancelled/rescheduled should I decide to go through with the CI. I know there are no guarantees and each person’s experience is different, but among those for whom the ability to appreciate music did return, I am hoping to get some sense of how long, on average, it took. Actually, the average timeline is only part of it. I’m mostly hoping to get a sense of the ratio of success, overall, among CI recipients in their ability to hear and appreciate music “normally”, i.e., recognize/differentiate instruments (especially an acoustic guitar) again, etc.

I recognize that music is never likely to actually sound “normal” again. It already doesn’t and I’ve managed to adapt. But if the odds are that it will likely get worse with a CI - and that playing solo, let alone with others becomes impossible? - I don’t know how one could adapt to that?

 

Christa, I’m encouraged to learn that “an acoustic guitar is starting to sound normal again” …after only 5 months! (Btw, I totally get your take on an electric guitar’s propensity for distortion. Funny.) I have a wide range of musical interests. I play exclusively acoustic guitar – everything from old “American” standards to “hot lick” flatpicking, western swing, bluegrass, jazz and original compositions. But I rarely “listen” to the radio or any other music other than that streamed via Bluetooth into my hearing aids, Even so, other than a tune’s title or “hook” (and the occasional well-engineered/mixed recording of a ballad or other slow to medium tempo tune), without lyrics/captions I don’t understand the words …and haven’t since the early 1960’s …so it’s also encouraging to know that, with training, this might be possible again.

 

Sorry in advance for this rambling and disjointed reply. I'm new to these types of forums, as you may be able to tell, Didn't know whether to reply to everyone individually or all at once?

 

Tim

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Tim,

No worries, I will try again shortly. You are correct. Each person is a little different in their new hearing journey. For me, the phone and music took the longest to come back. At one point, I walked into one our venues where the band was playing. There were 7 people up on stage, 5 different instruments and all were singing. I knew the song due to the words on the screen. The only thing I could make out were the drums. The rest was just mush, if that makes any sense. I can remember thinking right then, " I will never be able to enjoy music again"

Things slowly started to turn around. When I would turn on the radio in the car, it would take about 20 seconds of focused concentration. Once I recognized 2 or 3 words and then knew what song it was, it was like taking a blanket off of the speaker and I could hear it clear as day. Older songs were much easier to recognize. The new stuff I had a hard time with. That delay in recognition would get shorter and shorter until I could jump in the car, turn on the radio and know the song immediately. Eventually being able to pick out specific instruments. I have posted before that I had been listening to a particular song and had no idea until then that there was a Bass solo in the song.

I don't remember exactly how long it took. It seemed like forever. Maybe a few months when things real.y started sounding enjoyable again. It has progressed ever since.

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Tim, I found it.

She is a mechanical engineer and musician. If I remember correctly she was implanted in early 2009. She documents her journey as well as the music aspect from it. Just look back in the archives

http://www.sarasera.com/

Hope this helps

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Tim, I found it.

She is a mechanical engineer and musician. If I remember correctly she was implanted in early 2009. She documents her journey as well as the music aspect from it. Just look back in the archives

http://www.sarasera.com/

Hope this helps

 

I am starting to worry about Google - it couldn't find it although I've tried your combination numerous times.

Excellent!

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Hello Tim,

 

Don't worry - that's happened even to me once until Adam started to look for me; in the mean time, I was thinking, where did everybody go: I didn't see that I was signed out :D

 

This story is also interesting - perhaps we can ask our moderators if they can get a contact?

 

Also, it's hard to say when music can show up but you have already a memory how it sounds so I am pretty sure that you are good candidate to regain your sense for rhythm but also actually understand sounds pretty quickly. Remember, this is not a sprint, than - a marathon. A marathon runner knows that it's greatest enemy is her- or himself.

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I have talked with her before. I will look up her email address

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When I was searching for a CI, I was curious the reasons that a mechanical engineer went with Medel over the others so I contacted her with some questions.

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When I was searching for a CI, I was curious the reasons that a mechanical engineer went with Medel over the others so I contacted her with some questions.

 

Well, this only means a good preparation process of choosing the cochlear implant for which you can assure yourself that will be the best for you. At least, you can have peace of your mind and can't be discouraged. Everything else is only plus! :)

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I have talked with her before. I will look up her email address

 

 

Please do, :) If she can write something down for the HearPeers - it would be awesome!  :)  :)  ;)

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