Ab implant and music

Discussion in 'Hearing Aids & Cochlear Implants' started by enib91, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. enib91

    enib91 New Member

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    Hi there,

    I'm currently moderately to severely Deaf. I'm both signing and oral. HAs work very well for me at the moment, however my hearing is going to decline (Ménière's Disease), and as I'm a professional musician I'm looking into what my options will be then.

    At the moment I have absolutely no problems with orchestral playing (I'm a bassoonist). While I don't hear all the quiet noises, I can still easily distinguish pitch of the players around me, so I have no problem playing in tune (which is pretty important, needless to say). Orchestral playing is generally pretty loud anyway, which is handy for me.

    I'm pretty sure that as long as I can distinguish pitch I'll stick with hearing aids, but I'm not quite sure what to do if (and it is an if, not necessarily a when, but still a big possibility) I go deaf to the point where I don't get enough with HAs. The rhythm and visual cues will obviously never be an issue for me, but accuracy of pitch is very important. At first I was totally against the idea of the Cochlear Implant because I've read that pitch is not distinguishable with anywhere near enough accuracy necessary for my job. However, I've since been reading about the AB cochlear implant and it sounds like it's a lot better with pitch than other cochlear implants; however, the people I want to hear from are professional musicians who got AB implants after hearing loss. Small subset of people, I know, but I'm sure there are some out there. Music is, of course, not the only factor in my decision; I have other concerns about Cochlear Implants. In fact, music is the only thing that is making me very vaguely consider it, but I can't help thinking that musically I might actually be better off without it, so I wanted to see if anyone who has experienced the same thing has a different opinion.

    I don't mean this to sound rude, but I am *only* looking for the opinions of professional musicians, not amateurs, because I need someone with an understanding of exactly what is necessary to do my job.

    I have of course accepted that I may not be able to continue playing indefinitely, and I've totally made my peace with that. Music is one of my two full-time jobs (I'm one of those career-oriented people with no social life), so I have a fallback option which I love just as much as my musical career, and I've had a wonderful and enjoyable musical career to date of which I will always have fond memories. I just want to make a game plan now for all eventualities.

    Thanks so much for reading, and looking forward to hearing from some other musicians!
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  2. jstegeman

    jstegeman New Member

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    Are you a member of AAMHL (Association of Adult Musicians With Hearing Loss)? That may be a good place to ask.

    As I'm not a professional musician, I won't share my experience as a performing musician with Cochlear Implants and the musical training I've undergone or how my pitch perception has changed over time
     
  3. TF1

    TF1 New Member

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    I am a now retired professional musician/educator and I am a bilateral CI patient. Menieres robbed me of my hearing and my career. I started going deaf at age 47 and went through HA's from lightly powered to full powered and finally went totally deaf at age 61 two years ago. My main job was a public school band director for 39 years, but was an active performer (trumpet) for 46 years. I now live on teacher's pension, social security disability and a small musicians' union stipend. I was blessed with near perfect pitch which also gradually deteriorated. I could perform with hearing aids but as my loss progressed I had the good sense to stop when I could no longer perform up to my own standards. As far as performing with CI's I am certain that is not a possibility. I have not recovered any level of my former descriminating listening skills. I suspect if you progress to the point of requiring CI's you'll be faced with same reality. That being said the upside of CI's is being fully conversational again and hearing lots of sounds I had been missing for years, it's just been a total lifestyle readjustment for me.
     
  4. jstegeman

    jstegeman New Member

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    I'll point out that there *are* bilateral CI recipients who are quite competent musical performers. As you say, pitch discrimination can be a challenge - there are always "outliers" - people who end up doing extremely well and people who end up doing extremely poorly, as well as the "average" (if there is such a thing) performers. It's quite likely that a CI recipient won't be able to perform in the same way as pre-implant, but there *are* things one can do to adapt.

    Disclaimers: I'm not a professional musician, never have been. I am a performing musician (guitar, singing). I have Cochlear (tm) implants and processors, not AB. I was not a singer before getting CIs, and I'm a much better guitar player now than in my pre-CI days.
     
  5. ecp

    ecp Member

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    A few things:
    Not everyone or even most people with Ménière's disease go deaf. You are currently moderately hard of hearing you function in the hearing World.

    Semantics aside, advanced bionics has wonderful music reproduction ability. I was never a professional musician but I can tell you that music sounds so full of life with my AB cochlear implant. Before I listen to very bass heavy music I never knew there was more to the songs. Now when I listen to Jimmy Cliff I can hear the Hammond organ and drums and vocals so much better and it really adds two more enjoyment.

    I rely upon addition to hear patient's heart, Long, and other body sounds it's hard to A stethoscope that works with cochlear implants but the full range of sound is there from faint crackles and rales to the deep resident heart murmur.
    Professional musicians aren't the only ones who rely upon hearing for at least part of their job. I hope that your Ménière's doesn't progress because losing ones's hearing is devastating. Advanced bionics has gone far beyond what I ever expected.

     
  6. sonocativo

    sonocativo Well-Known Member

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    It is a challenge, I am Bi-Lateral and here is the thing. I can listen to the radio and mp3 player and hear the music fine BUT when I play the piano or Guitar there are several chords that sounds the same... it really throws me off. While listening to it , it sounds wrong and screws me up playing it and since I know it by heart I can take off my CI and breeze right through it without missing a beat, Others have experienced this as well although different for each individual due to different nerves being stimulated by the electrodes. Remember you have 300,000 nerve fibers being stimulated by only 22 or so electrodes so 300,000 nerve fibers are being grouped instead of being individual (eg: 300,000 / 22 = 13,636 =/-per electrode )
     
  7. hohviolist

    hohviolist New Member

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    Dear OP:

    My name is Wendy, and I have bilateral cochlear implants. I just upgraded from the Advanced Bionics Harmony CIs to the Naidas. I'm an amateur viola student (was formerly studying violin)and also direct a small handbell choir.

    Pitch perception varies from person to person when it comes to cochlear implants. Until you go through activation, it is hard to set a baseline. Back in 1996, when I received my first CI in my right ear, my audiologist all told me to not to expect that my CIs would give music back to me.

    And for the first six months, I simply waited . . . I waited for musical pitches to sound more like musical pitches. I played scales on my digital piano on a daily basis. I didn't go back to violin until six month post-activation. I switched from violin to viola after realizing my CI would never render pitches two octaves above middle C accurately, and I wanted to master notes above third position. Switching to viola was the best solution I could think of to get to that goal, so I made the switch.

    In 2008 I received my second implant in my left ear . . . a ear that had a long history of wearing hearing aids. Musical pitches sounded much better, to the point that I was now able to sing in tune with the piano, and took a year of voice lesson just to prove to myself I *could* sing with the piano.

    Today, I can play music, but taking melodic dictation is a bit problematic . . . every pitch is at least a whole step off. :(
    That said, I am happy I know music to the point of being able to sing the melody and am getting better at jumping back in when ringing level 3 music with my handbell group on Monday night. I practice viola with a tuner app called Tunable.

    ----------------------------------------

    I also run a small nonprofit called Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss (AAMHL). We are having our biennial conference in New Jersey this coming July. You are welcome to attend if you want to meet fellow musicians with hearing loss who love making music as much as you and I do. You can get to the conference website here:
    http://bit.ly/2mbxMVP

    Best wishes,
    Wendy
     
  8. sonocativo

    sonocativo Well-Known Member

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    How did you go from Cochlear Implants to Nadia? Thats amazing.
     
  9. sonocativo

    sonocativo Well-Known Member

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    I am 2 years out with Cochlear and music sounds great BUT the octaves are where my issues are with guitar and piano, they sound the same 2 octave each.... NOW listening to my mp3 player, rock, country, classical sounds fine??? its weird I know. it takes time for the brain to figure out and its getting better with time.... Also your mapping plays a big roll in how you hear things. But Im still confused how you went backwards from AB to Cochlear and Nadia HA ??
     
  10. LoveBlue

    LoveBlue Well-Known Member

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    ?? She has AB implants and upgraded her processors. The newest AB processor is Naida CI. That's what I have. I have a Phonak Naida HA for my other ear. AB and Phonak have partnered.
     
  11. sonocativo

    sonocativo Well-Known Member

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    Ithought nadia were HA ?
     
  12. LoveBlue

    LoveBlue Well-Known Member

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  13. LoveBlue

    LoveBlue Well-Known Member

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    I've been wearing Naida's since 2010 which is one reason I chose Advanced Bionics for my HA.
     
  14. Jane B.

    Jane B. Well-Known Member

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    I think she is using the genetic term "cochlear" for any brand of cochlear implant rather than the brand name.
     
  15. jstegeman

    jstegeman New Member

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    I wanted to give a little update... For me, I find that my pitch perception (and thus my ability to sing in tune) is much better if I wear only one of my CI processors. For listening to music, both is better - for performing, one is better.

    That's just my experience, but a couple of doctors (one audi and one well-known ENT, whom I won't mention by name because I didn't ask for permission) have told me that there are reports of others with similar experiences. I don't think we (and by "we" I mean "humankind") understand why this is, but it may have to do with one being better than two for very complex tasks.

    I guess the points I'm making are that everyone is different, and you may need to experiment (even doing things that are counter-intuitive) to find what works best for you.
     
  16. hohviolist

    hohviolist New Member

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    Correct. I have Advanced Bionics' cochlear implants. The most recent processor is called the Naida.

    Wendy
     
  17. hohviolist

    hohviolist New Member

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    LoveBlue likes this.
  18. Pride2662

    Pride2662 New Member

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    While I not a musician, I do understand the need or want for music. Music is almost an essential need in everday life. Not to be rude, but have you looked into deaf culture about there music styles.

    Im deaf, but wasnt always, and before I lost my hearing, I learned a way to listen (feel) music. I know how to interpret vibrations into words and notes. For the playing, your brain will always remember what the notes sound like even though you cant hear them. Same sith singing.

    Its a very long process, and very hard. For me to get real good I had to practice for about 2 years. Even then sometimes it doesnt always work. But I havet stopped practicing. I use vibration to "feel" my favorite music.

    How this ties in? Deaf people listen, or feel, music everyday. While its not essential need for people like you and me who werent born deaf, they listen to music in a diffrent way. Sort of like animals use the earths magnetic waves to know the direction there going, while us humans use a compass. Diffrent technique, same result.

    Try this out, it may help you.
     
  19. Wynonna

    Wynonna New Member

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    Hmmm Maybe Beethoven's Nightmare could add a bassoonist to their line up? Those guys are proof that being deaf does not deny a music career. Or look at Beethoven himself. Some say he did his best work when he went deaf!
     

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