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Clear Voice

Posted Apr 19 2012 10:41pm

People often ask and want to understand how I hear with my cochlear implant. When trying to help others understand, I and other CI users have described pictures. For instance, if moderate deafness is a blurry picture, then hearing aids bring the picture into focus. When you are profound to severely deaf and you can’t make out the picture at all, it is just a smear of colors - a cochlear implant brings the picture back so you can make out what it is. The degree of blurriness varies amongst users. My cochlear implant experience has been great and I have a pretty sharp picture that includes bright colors representing my enjoyment of music. 
The company that makes my cochlear implant, Advanced Bionics (AB) , is a progressive company that continues to seek ways to bring better hearing to the deaf and hard of hearing. They keep fine tuning the picture and since I got my first cochlear implant in 2001, AB has presented their cochlear implant users with three advances in the processing technology. The last improvement I received was like getting a high definition television. Today I got the third. It is called “Clear Voice” and my hearing picture just went 3-D. 
Clear Voice processing is able to identify background noise that may interfere with understanding speech and then lowers it to a level that gets it out of the way for better speech comprehension. There are three levels to choose from, low, medium and high.  While I was being fitted with Clear Voice, there was a steady rain coming down pattering on the window of my audiologist’s office. When she first turned Clear Voice on for me, I immediately noticed the softening of the sound of the rain. She had it set to medium. When she put the Clear Voice on high, the sound of the rain disappeared. Then we tried the low setting, which I liked. I could still hear the rain, but it felt pushed back and out of the way of the conversation with my audiologist. For my three programs, I decided to go with Clear Voice low on one map, medium on the second and my old favorite map in the third slot. I had my processors set to the first map with Clear Voice low for the drive home. I was planning to test the sound of music during the drive and I discovered that I really like Clear Voice low to listen to music. This map pushed the car and road noise down enough so that the music sounded wonderful.  This technology is amazing! I think I’m going to love hearing with Clear Voice. It is a whole new picture!

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