Last night, as I walked along the bank of trees on the green next to my home, the sun was shining and I could see the Shard glinting over the rooftops. My dog was having fun chasing his ball. Green-yellow birds swooped in and out of the trees. I could hear a cacophony of birds chirping to each other, it was surprisingly loud but nice to listen to.
Do you know what it’s like to not hear the birds properly? Here’s a demonstration of hearing birdsong with a moderate hearing loss . With a profound loss … *shrugs* – but with bionic hearing, the birds are crystal clear.
As I walked along the bank of trees, I realised the sound of screaming chirping birds was noticeably louder on my right (where the trees were). I turned around to experience the binaural effect. I continued to walk and I listened to the chirping get louder in my right ear. I followed the sound until it got softer, then turned around and moved until the sound was equally loud in both ears, and stopped. I was looking directly at one tree and searched for the screaming rogues in its branches. I spotted a congregation of birds in that tree top. Bingo!
I walked away smiling at the wonder of it all.
It’s amazing what you can hear with binaural bionic hearing. However! Having been born deaf, I don’t have a vocabulary of sounds in my head. I could see the birds but have no idea what they are, so I couldn’t name the bird breed and the corresponding sound just meant ‘cheep’ or ‘sqawk’ to me. You can check the RSPB bird identifier and then click on the bird to play its sound. It turned out my birds were a charm of greenfinches.