Monday, October 14, 2013

saw the Wizard of CI's!

Saw the Wizard of CI's (audiologist) today!  I was really hoping to get Advanced Bionic's new Optima programming loaded up onto my processors. No such luck, the laptop the audie brought with her is old, and has the older software on it.  But she is taking my Neptune with her so she can load Optima onto it when she gets back to her office in Denver, and then send it to me. She tested 3 of the electrodes (3, 9, and 15) to make sure the Harmony is programmed in the right spots.  Brought up the middle frequencies a bit more, and voila!  Program 1 is Hi-Res P which is what I had on Program 2; Program 2 is now Hi-Res P with the adjustments, and Program 3 is Hi-Res S with the adjustments as well.  She also tested me real quick in the sound booth.  When the tones were being played, at times I wasn't sure if I was actually hearing the tones with the implant, or if it was the tinnitus in the right ear. Augh!  Tinnitus, why must you be so confusing?!  She also said a few phrases while I was in the booth with just my CI on.  A couple she had to repeat but I was able to repeat them all back to her.  She's still amazed with my progress. She was telling me she really didn't think I'd be able to understand speech with the implant, considering how long the left ear was DEAF for, and the fact I had meningitis which did cause some ossification.  I'm pretty much in awe of my progress too!

I was also able to sit in while a teenager had her CI remapped as well.  She has a Cochlear device, and I've been curious of how other CI brands were programmed.  Very interesting to see the differences in programming options/softwares.  While the audiologist was going through each electrode, the teen had to count the beeps and report to the audiologist how many beeps she heard so the audie could make some adjustments if necessary.  I don't have to do that with AB, and audie says those with MedEl don't have to count the beeps either.  The softwares for AB and MedEl just automatically measures the responses and records them, but Cochlear's doesn't?  I'm not too sure, I missed bits here and there.  Still interesting anyway.  Now, who has a MedEl implant so I can sit in on one of their sessions so I can see how things are done? Ha, kidding.

Anyhoo...  Oh yeah!  I ordered some skins from SkinIt for my processors last month!  I ordered a couple for the Harmony, and one for the Neptune.  Found a 40% discount code online so got 40% off on each skin ordered, which was nice.  Took a while to check out all the different patterns and designs available on the site, but I finally narrowed them down to the three I chose.  You could also add in your own custom graphics/colors/designs/patterns too instead of choosing one already available.  Pretty neat!



the layout of the skins. definitely many more pieces just for the Neptune (including both the controller, and the waterproof cap).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


With all the excitement of the new Naida CI being FDA approved and now available for purchase/upgrade/etc, oh how so badly do I want one!  I would love to get a Naida, but unfortunately, I got my implant before AB started giving out vouchers for the new Naida.  I've got another 3 and half years before Medicare would cover an upgrade, so I'm stuck with the Harmony in the mean time.

I did order 2 new Slim Cel batteries (AB told me Medicare will cover 4 new batteries per year!), a new T-mic, a pack of O-rings (since my T-mic likes to twist around easily on my Harmony... hopefully a new O-ring will help with that), and a pack of T-mic savers from AB with Medicare covering the batteries and T-mic as part of the DME clause (the O-Rings and T-Mic savers were thrown in for free).  FedEx dropped off the package yesterday, with the apartment's office.  And I didn't get home until after 5 so I had to wait until today to get the package.  But I have my new stuff!  Now need to get the Slims charged up, and the T-mic stored away safely (figured it'd be a good idea to have a spare T-mic on hand, so whenever my Harmony or Neptune one goes bad, I already have a new one ready to go).  Am hoping the Slim Cel battery will lighten the load of the Harmony on my ear a bit.  With the Plus Cel, it's kind of heavy and my ear will hurt after a few hours.

Also, featured my blog among others on their website today! For the month of September, they're focusing on cochlear implants, and selected several blogs to be featured throughout the month.  It's pretty cool.

The other sides of hearing loss | Featured bloggers

During the month of September, Healthy Hearing will be featuring different bloggers in the hearing loss community. From individuals with cochlear implants to parents of children with hearing loss, we'll take a closer look at some of the top blogs and resources available to you! On Thursday, we highlighted bloggers with 'Hearing loss in adulthood.' Additionally, each Friday we will have a featured author, an individual who has published a book about their experiences with hearing loss. Make sure to visit Healthy Hearing's Facebook and Twitter pages to enter to win a copy of each book!
A common misconception about hearing loss is that it only impacts older individuals or infants born with the disorder. Unfortunately, there are numerous factors and conditions that can contribute or cause hearing loss, including: Waardenburg syndrome, Stickler syndrome, Usher syndrome, Alport syndrome. In addition, certain medications, tumors and traumatic head injuries can all be a catalyst to hearing loss or deafness.
There are a number of causes behind hearing loss. While many people are familiar with presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, most people don't know about the other sides of hearing loss. The following bloggers have suffered from hearing loss due to an illness or condition. Their blogs provide readers with an insight to the various ways hearing loss can develop and the impact it's had on their lives.
Another Boomer Blog is written by a 'baby boomer,' someone born between 1946-1964 during the post-war baby boom, whose hearing loss was the result of a traumatic head injury suffered at the age of 18 months. The injury not only crushed the left inner ear, but severed the nerve and took away virtually any ability on that side. Additionally, the right side was impacted as well, although the total hearing loss wasn't discovered until the blogger was three years old. Because the blogger never remembers having bilateral hearing, it's something that seemed normal through the years. Another Boomer Blog not only gives readers the perspective of a baby boomer who developed hearing loss, but one who has lived with it since a very young age. Written with a fond stroll down memory lane, this blog helps readers understand the impact of hearing loss while enjoying some nostalgia as well.
The blogger behind Eye Can't Hear You has been afflicted with Usher syndrome since birth, although the hearing loss wasn't noticed until she reached the age of three and didn't react to the loud crashing of pots in the kitchen. Having noticed she didn't flinch to the bang, her grandmother banged a wooden spoon and pot together to see if she would react, when she didn't the mother made a few arrangements with the doctor. It was then discovered the blogger's one-year-old sister also suffered from Usher syndrome. The blogger details the numerous ways hearing loss has impacted her life, from feeling separated from her peers to delaying her wanting to date. Eventually, as another symptom of Usher syndrome, the blogger also lost her eye sight. Now, she takes readers into her world that isn't just silent, but dark as well. Eye Can't Hear You is written so any reader can understand and relate, which makes it enjoyable and informative.
CD's Ear Blog is written by Meghan, a blogger who was born hearing, but went deaf in 1987 after contracting HIB bacterial meningitis. The disease left her with a very profound hearing loss in her left ear, in addition to a severe to profound loss in her right ear. She wore hearing aids for most of her life and now has a cochlear implant for her left loss and a hearing aid for her right ear. CD's Ear Blog not only provides readers with a glimpse into this once-hearing woman's life, but also includes product reviews and online resources for individuals with hearing loss. She recently enrolled in fall semester at college and has since detailed her journey to get a degree while combating her hearing loss condition. CD's Ear Blog is the perfect marriage of understanding about an individual's life with hearing loss, in addition to learning about the products and devices which help make this condition less challenging.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hatis website

I was browsing on the Harris Communications website, taking a look at the dual Hatis Epic device and checking out the cost... when I noticed the Harris site says it's been discontinued. So I made my way over to the Hatis website, and on there it says out of stock.  But what caught my attention was this photo: 
Why, that's my ear!  With my old Phonak Supero hearing aid, with the smiley face stickers on it.  They must have gotten the photo from this blog perhaps.  Cool!
Am thinking I might spring for the dual NoizFree earhooks from TecEar... But then again, maybe not. Who knows.  All I know is, I don't want another Music Link, feels like it's more filmsy than the NoizFree.

First day of Fall 2013 semester

First day of classes at the college for the fall semester was today.  All weekend, I fussed with my netbook, getting it all up to date, getting internet security going, charging up all my electronics (the RevoLabs mic, FM transmitter, batteries for the Neptune, etc.), and finding the Phonak FM receiver as it wasn't attached to the Neptune control (I took it off for the summer, stuck it in a hearing aid case and stored it with my CI accessories storage, and ended up not using the Neptune much anyway).  Took a while before I finally was able to get Skype installed on the Netbook, oy.  But I eventually got everything working as it should be.

My Sonic Boom alarm clock went off at 8:30 this morning, shaking my bed and causing my dog to jump all over me.  I got up and going, and made my way to the college campus by 9:45ish.  Math went smoothly since I already was used to the redesign course and knew what was expected; English wasn't too bad. Turns out I was supposed to have taken the blue network cable with me last semester for my wired network connection for the Skype/captioning set up.... Oops.  So the disabilities counselor went and got the cord for me.  Now I know to take the cord with me at the end of class each time.  The microphone kept cutting in and out, so the transcriber wasn't able to caption everything.  Augh!  Don't know if it was because the mic was possibly not fully charged (even though I charged it up over the weekend) or what was up.  But hopefully all the kinks will get worked out.  I didn't even use my FM set up today, as I was messing with the Netbook set up, conversing with the transcriber on Skype every now and then when an issue came up.  But, today was a much better first day than last semester.  I ended up in tears on the first day in January when I couldn't get anything to work with the captioning set up then, oh man.

After my classes were done with for the morning, I headed over to the Gateway building to get my financial aid, and also to get my student ID.  I've already checked in with my 2 online classes over the weekend, and good thing I did.  Turns out I only needed just one text book for the government class (the 2nd book is used for the course taught on campus, but for online we're to use online government sites instead), so I'll be returning the unneeded book.  And it took me a while to figure out everything for the online human anatomy class. Since I got the used text book, I didn't get a registration code of the online lab, so I had to purchase that separately online.  Ahh, if it isn't one thing, it's something else.  :)

But overall, wasn't too bad for a first day.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

More sounds

It was last week when I finally figured out what that sound was that I kept hearing every so often at work but couldn't figure out what it was!  I heard the sound again, and I looked around, as usual, to see if I could find the source.  There was an employee at the front, stapling paper bags together!  I watched her while she stapled, and that was indeed the sound I was hearing.  I was glad to have finally figured out the sound.  Now when I hear it, I know what it is and I can ignore it, instead of trying to identify the sound!  I mentioned this on my facebook that same day, and it was the next day at the deaf school library that my old teacher from the deaf school days decided to tease me and she used a stapler and stapled at nothing right next to my ear.  Of course, this stapler in the library had a different sound; the one at the newspaper had more of a metallic sound.  But it was still funny anyway.  The former teacher asked if I remember all the listening practice we had done during the deaf school days, which I did.  Don't recall having to listen for a stapler in those days though... :)  She also asked if I would consider doing auditory training with a professional with Medicare covering it.  I had thought of it here and there, but who?  And with school coming up again, in addition to work, I'll have a full enough schedule as it is, so I will continue to do the auditory rehab with my iPad and laptop, and while out and about in general, on my own time.  I haven't done much rehab with the ipad or computer over the summer, but I have been trying to pay more attention to the TV, trying not to rely so much on the captionings just to see if I can make sense of anything.  I can make sense of bits and pieces here and there without the captioning.

On Saturday, I was over at my mom and stepdad's house, hanging out.  They decided to throw some burgers and hot dogs on the grill for dinner that evening, so I was helping mom kind of prepare for it.  At one point during the evening, mom and I were in the kitchen. She came up to me, and whispered into my CI ear.  I heard what she said, but thought it'd be funny to mess with her. "What? I didn't hear that?"  I just wanted her to do it again.  She whispered "I love you" into my CI ear 3 times in those few minutes.  Nice to hear!  I also heard the crickets outside while we were hanging out in the back yard at the table.  I had my hearing aid on at the time when I heard the sound, so I turned it off to see if I could hear the crickets with the CI.  I could.  That was cool.  My nephew also asked what the sound was too, which was kind of funny.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hear on the Range!

Last Friday was the Hear on the Range 5K run/walk for the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund.  It was a great evening, with over 360 registrations!  Sure was fun walking along the path, seeing all the lights glowing off the participants.  Props to Justin Osmond and the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, and Wyoming Hands and Voices, for arranging this event!  A local boy received new hearing aids thanks to the Fund, and hopefully he's hearing more now with more powerful hearing aids.  His dad was telling me his old hearing aids just were not powerful enough anymore and that he was struggling, and the family couldn't afford to get him new hearing aids at this time. So awesome this fund was available to help him get the new hearing aids he needed. 

Anyway, Friday was a great day! Not only was the 5K run happening, but the Wyoming Relay also arrange for a free open caption movie showing at a local movie theater as well.  The movie shown was "See the Crowd Roar" about William "Dummy" Hoy, and copies of the DVDs were passed out to those who came to see the movie.  The movie was at 4, and registrations for the 5K started at about 6:30.  They had family fun going on, with bounce houses and face painting for kids.  Then at 8:30, the walk/run started!  I actually walked the full 5K, even though my feet were already hurting before the walk/run started.  But I did it!

On Thursday, when I got done with work, I went over to the deaf school library just for the heck of it.  The Wyoming Hands and Voices board meeting was going on, and Justin Osmond showed up at this time so he could talk more of the run and the hearing fund.  I was invited to sit in to listen to what he had to say.  Very interesting stuff.  He is very motivated and involved, raising runds for hearing aids or FM systems for those who need them but can't afford them, and also just to spread deaf awareness out there.  He's a very neat and interesting person, and now that I know what this program is all about, I'm all for supporting it.

Here is Justin being interviewed by KTWO News about the event:

and here's the video showing what Justin and the Hearing Fund has done, with a song written by Nathan Osmond special for this:

And some photos from the event that I took:

 Setting up for the 5K

 Justin Osmond in a tree
 the movie that was passed out, courtesy of Wyoming Relay
 a shirt I bought for a nephew.  Very fitting!
 ready to go!

 Justin speaking and doing a raffle
got my photo with Justin at the very end, after clean up.
It sounds like the Hear on the Range 5K will be a yearly event, which would be fantastic!
More info about the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund:,!/HearingFund

School starting up again soon...

Oh no!  College classes will start up next Monday!  Ack!  Am I ready?  I don't know if I am.  I have already seen the disabilities coordinator at the college and re-checked out the Revo Labs microphone to use for the CART captioning set up for English (using ACS Captions' service again).  English and Math classes on campus, human anatomy and government online.  It's a full time schedule for me this semester.  Vocational Rehab will again be paying for my courses, and covered most of the costs of my text books (one book I had to pay for myself, and instead of paying full price for a used book, I just rented it instead).  In a way, I am ready.  I have the books and equipment needed, and will be getting financial aid again.  And at the same time, I'm thinking "oh no, gotta get up early enough so I can get to class on time, ugh".  I am NOT a morning person! And I'm not particularly looking forward to the homework either.  Shoot, I still need to get my office/library set up/organized at the new apartment, so I actually have a place to do homework.

I've got one full week left to get everything out of my old apartment and into my new one... and getting the old one cleaned up and everything before turning over the keys to the apartment management.  And I still haven't gotten the chance to hit up the pool at the new apartment with the Neptune yet!  I mean to last night, but by the time I got home from the grocery store last night, maintenance had already locked the pool up for the night. Hopefully soon enough I can grab the Neptune and go for a swim.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Alums, preservationists fear Casper deaf-school demolition

Alums, preservationists fear Casper deaf-school demolition



The former Wyoming School for the Deaf is more than just an old building to some.
To Dan Frazier, who attended the school in the ’80s, it was a life-changing experience, he wrote in an email.
Julianne Orth, an alumna from the 1970s and ’80s, described learning sign language and playing sports on the playground at the school, which is attached to Pineview Elementary School on Payne Avenue.
“Wyoming School for the Deaf is very popular in the world,” she wrote in a letter.
They, other alumni and the Casper Historic Preservation Commission believe its future is in jeopardy, though, and are attempting to garner enough support to save it.
Hillary Lindmire, a member of the Casper Historic Preservation Commission, said state and local school officials assured the commission last winter that the school would not be torn down. But by spring, the group was told plans could include demolition.
Built in 1961 and opened to students in 1963, the school was designed by the local father-and-son architect team of Krusmark and Krusmark. Lindmire said the younger Krusmark had two children who were deaf who inspired his work.
Barbara Dobos, a member of the historic commission, said they designed it with the hearing-impaired in mind – the gym floor and rotunda helping to transit sound, for example.
The school closed in 2005 when students were mainstreamed into their local school districts.
Dennis Bay, the Natrona County School District’s executive director for business services, said the school district has an agreement with the state to provide maintenance for the building while the Wyoming Department of Education operates a library and resource center in the rotunda.
Pineview Elementary School is in the preliminary stages of reconstruction, which could separate it from the former school for the deaf.
“If we build a new building there, separate from the school for the deaf, the state then would take over all the maintenance and custodial duty for that building,” Bay said.
He said early conversations with the state Building Commission indicated the state did not have the money to continue caring for the former school and would prefer demolition. Bay said there is a possibility the new elementary school would include services for the deaf. The project is currently in the design phase, and the state has not yet allocated construction money.
Anthony Hughes, spokesman for the state School Facilities Department, said construction money won’t be in next year’s budget, which will be approved during the 2014 Wyoming Legislature’s budget session. The state, he said, has made no decisions about the future of the deaf school because plans are “premature.”
“There are really no construction funds available yet,” he said, “so there’s a number of options on the table.”
If demolition is an option the state pursues, Hughes said there will be a public hearing before the former Wyoming School for the Deaf is torn down.
Lindmire said a hearing is “good news” but doesn’t represent enough public involvement. She’d like a discussion about the possibility of incorporating the building into a new elementary school.
“One of our big concerns is just that the community hasn’t had a chance to actually weigh in on this,” she said. “It is a historic building, and it’s very important to the deaf and hearing-impaired community, as well as Casper.”
When the building was slated for destruction in 2007, the deaf community and supporters submitted about 7,000 signatures to the Wyoming Department of Education to prevent its demise. Lindmire said the state still intended to tear it down, but lacked the demolition funding.
The historic commission is interested in maintaining the building because it is an example of modern, mid-century architecture. Lindmire said it has a “butterfly roof” that peaks and slopes and a unique rotunda, where the library and resource center are currently located.
Lindmire lives in the area, which includes post-war World War II houses, and said the building acts as almost a centerpiece.
“It goes beyond just the school building, but also to the whole neighborhood,” Lindmire said.
It’s also indicative of historic education trends throughout the state. Lindmire said the connection to Pineview Elementary School was seen as a precursor to “mainstreaming” because students could attend classes at the elementary school while having access to special services.
Laura Ratcliff, who taught at the school for 14 years, said educators would pre-teach and review coursework that hearing-impaired students learned at Pineview.
“It was the first state school that really mainstreamed into the regular elementary schools,” she said. “It was a real new concept then.”
The school also served as a kind of second home to students, where they could communicate with teachers and peers. Ratcliff, who now teaches hearing-impaired preschoolers, said she still refers families to the resource center for books about deafness and sign language.
“It keeps us all connected,” she said. “Even though that we’re all separate right now.”

Source: Casper Star Tribune

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Agency, Alumni Frustrated by Plans to Tear Down Wyoming School for the Deaf

Agency, Alumni Frustrated by Plans to Tear Down Wyoming School for the Deaf

The future of a building that housed the Wyoming School for the Deaf in Casper for more than 40 years is once again uncertain.
The former school, which is attached to Pineview Elementary School, staved off demolition in 2007, when supporters of keeping the historic structure standing gathered more than 7,000 signatures on a petition they submitted to the State Department of Education. The agency still planned to tear down the School for the Deaf, but lack of funds prevented the proposed demolition.
Now, state education officials would again like to see the building torn down, according to Dennis Bay, director of Business Services for the Natrona County School District. Bay said the Department of Education wants the building off of its inventory, primarily because of its maintenance costs.
Although the school closed in 2005, it still serves as a library and resource center for deaf and hearing-impaired students and staff specialists. Services for visually impaired children and adults are also provided at the building, which hosts educational workshops and  reunions of former  Wyoming School for the Deaf students.
If aspects like the wood and hollow floor are so important and worth recreating, why not look at ways to incorporate the original rotunda into the new design?
The Casper Historic Preservation Commission and alumni of the school are both fighting the proposed demolition, which would take place in 2014 under plans to build a replacement for Pineview Elementary. Bay said funding for the construction still has to be approved by the Legislature, which is scheduled to consider the issue at next year’s session. Until money is available for the project — which includes the school’s demolition — it will remain standing.
State education officials have proposed dedicating between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet of space in a new Pineview School to house a new library as well as offices for Outreach Services for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing research and media specialists. Some aspects of the original school’s design would be recreated in the new space.
“The commission as a whole is disheartened by the impending loss of the Wyoming School for the Deaf building. … [which] is noteworthy for a variety of reasons, including the important role it played in educating Wyoming’s deaf students as well as its unique, purpose-built architecture,” noted Connie Bryan, chairwoman of the Casper Historic Preservation Commission, in a letter to the local school district.
While Bryan said that memorializing some of those special qualities in the new structure is an interesting idea, “If aspects like the wood and hollow floor are so important and worth recreating, why not look at ways to incorporate the original rotunda into the new design?”
In 2007, when the fate of the building was being decided by the state, Kathleen Holmes, one of the WSD’s first students, said, “It’s indeed sad that all the memories and the historical site of the Wyoming School for the Deaf will be wiped out when it’s torn down.”
Once again, alumni of the school are stepping forward to protest the proposal to tear down the former school as part of the new Pineview construction. Meghan Watt attended the school from 1991-98, after her parents moved to Casper solely so she could be enrolled at the WSD.
Watt said the school and staff helped change her life for the better after she lost her hearing as a result of meningitis when she was 2 years old. “I struggled to learn to speak and communicate again, also while making sense of what I was hearing with hearing aids,” she recalled. “The deaf school gave me a better concept of language. When I started learning to sign, that helped me understand language and to speak again.”
Watt said her “whole world opened up” as she learned how to communicate with family and friends. She called her time at the school “the best seven years of my childhood.”
“It would be an absolute shame if the WSD building was torn down,” she said, adding that the library and resource center “is a great resource for anyone needing information or help regarding deafness, education of the deaf and sign language.”
Bryan and another supporter of keeping the WDE building, Barbara Dobos of Casper, said they are concerned that most people in the community are not aware of the state’s plans to tear down the structure if the Legislature appropriates the money to do so.
Bryan said earlier this year, Wally Diller of the State School Facilities Commission said the state would repair any damage to the school that may occur when the state tears down Pineview, and that the School for the Deaf would remain in place.
“We worry that it was not made clear to [the stakeholders] that the building was to be demolished,” Bryan said. “We were shocked when we received notification in early April that it was to come down — we had been assured repeatedly that the connection to Pineview was going to be capped off and the WSD left standing.”
Construction of the WSD as an addition to Pineview took place in 1964. Previously, deaf students in Wyoming had been sent to out-of-state residential programs. The WSD’s purpose was to ensure all children with hearing disabilities, including infants, had access to free and appropriate public education in an atmosphere that emphasized special education and related services and was designed to meet the distinct needs for communicating language. Because the Wyoming Department of Education ran the WSD, it functioned separately from the Natrona County School District and had its own teachers, audiologists, speech pathologists and interpreters.
Families in Casper initially fostered the deaf students in their homes.  In 1990, a “cottage” — or live-in — program was started using a three-bedroom building on 8th Street near the school. But by then, new federal laws mandated that all disabled children in private or public institutions were to receive their education in regular educational environments nearest their family homes.  As a result, more handicapped students were being “mainstreamed” into regular classrooms, and enrollment at the WDE significantly dropped.
Funding issues caused regular debates in the Legislature about whether the WSD should remain open between 1991 and June 2005, when the facility was permanently closed. The state’s deaf and hearing impaired students are now mainstreamed into their local classrooms in all 48 school districts.
Bryan said it is not constructive when people find out at the eleventh hour about plans to tear down historic schools and other buildings. “Why not try to gauge what the community thinks about the building now, while the plans are still being created and there is still some flexibility, and there is still the opportunity to properly inform and engage the community?” she asked.
The Wyoming School for the Deaf has not been formally evaluated, Bryan noted, but she believes it is likely that the building is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, both for its role in education of hearing-impaired students and its unique architecture.
The structure’s Expressionist Modern design features an irregular, star-shaped floor plan topped by a low, hovering roof of zigzagging gables. The single-story school building is constructed of steel I-beams, with a central rotunda (now used as the library) surrounded by classrooms and offices. The library is flooded with daylight by eight ceiling skylights. Each classroom has a large bank of original windows, some extending almost to the height of the room, which provide ample natural daylight.
The WSD was designed by Krusmark and Krusmark, a father-and-son team that designed many other buildings in Natrona County, including Midwest Elementary School, Dean Morgan Junior High, Kelly Walsh High School and the blossom-like Wyoming National Bank building located in downtown Casper.
Bryan said the younger of the Krusmarks had two deaf children of his own, Elizabeth and Lee Krusmark, so he was especially sensitive to the needs of the population for whom he was designing.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Historic preservation commission wants to save deaf school

Historic preservation commission wants to save deaf school

Historic preservation commission wants to save deaf school - By Makayla Moore -
July 22, 2013 1:45 pm

The Casper Historic Preservation Commission has begun an effort to save the former Wyoming School for the Deaf building from demolition
The building that housed the Wyoming School for the Deaf is in danger of being demolished with the planned rebuilding of Pineview Elementary School. It was built in 1961 on Huber Street as an addition to Pineview. The Wyoming School for the Deaf was operated by the State Department of Education from 1963 until it was closed for lack of enrollment in June 2005.
The former Wyoming School for the Deaf building meets Pineview in a V-shape, with each wing housing a separate school and meeting in the middle at the Rotunda.
The Rotunda is a large circular building which currently houses outreach services for the deaf and hard of hearing, including a library and resource center.
The building has many unique aspects as it was built for the needs of hearing-impaired children. The architects who designed the building, Krusmark and Krusmark, were a father and son team. The younger of the Krusmarks had a son that was hearing-impaired, so he was aware of the special needs of the population he was designing for. For example, the floor in the Rotunda is hollow, to allow the hard of hearing to feel the vibrations of others walking.
The Historic Preservation Commission indicated the State of Wyoming still owns and maintains the building, but the property is managed by the Natrona County School District. It was deeded to the State Department of Education from NCSD for “the express purpose of enabling grantee to erect and maintain on this property a school for deaf children, and in the event this property and any improvements thereon should cease at any time to be used for this purpose, then the property and all improvements thereon shall revert to the grantor and the interest of the grantee shall cease and be terminated.”
However, Audrey Cotherman, a current school board trustee, said she is not certain the state owns the building but she is quite sure they have not been maintaining it. Cotherman who has asked the district to look into it, said in her opinion the state cannot ask the district to provide space for them.
“We’ve had enough dictation from the state as for what to build and how to build it. When they begin to talk about tearing down historic buildings, we have to speak up,” she said.
According to Barbara Dobos of the Casper Historic Preservation Commission, in 2007, the public became aware of plans to tear down the School for the Deaf and in a very short period of time 7,000 signatures were collected on a petition to prevent the demolition of the building, which was enough to delay demolition.
With a planned construction project at Pineview, once again the Casper Historic Preservation Commission is hoping to save the building.
“There’s a conversation that it would be nice to have before it’s knocked down and it comes to light what a great building it was after it’s knocked down,” Dobos said. “There are so many great aspects to the building that make it special.”
A change in the focus of educating hearing-impaired students led to their integration into mainstream classrooms, which led to drastically declining attendance at specialty schools such as this one.
“We would really like to see the school repurposed and used in the community as a health clinic or a Montessori school. It really lends itself to that,” Dobos said.
The preservation commission believes that due to the building’s role in education of hearing-impaired students in Wyoming and its unique architecture, the building is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. “A lot of people don’t see mid-century architecture as historic, but the requirement for a building is 50 years old and this one is,” said Hillery Lindmier of the Casper Historic Preservation Commission.
“To the school district’s credit, it’s a weird situation. It’s not their responsibility to take care of it; it’s just a little murky which doesn’t make the issue any easier,” Lindmier said.
The school district has said that if funding is received for construction, they’ll proceed with their design, which calls for demolition of both buildings and rebuilding a new Pineview.
“Right now the Department of Education can neither support nor continue to maintain that building,” said Dennis Bay, Executive Director of Business Services for NCSD.
Currently, NCSD is hoping to receive funding for the project as part of the 2014 state budget.
The Pineview building has some mechanical systems in need of overhaul as well as significant parking problems. There’s no circular drive to drop off and pick up students, as the building sits nearly on the street.
“The school district has done a wonderful job engaging the community and is willing to listen to people. It’s important to acknowledge that there are other buildings that are an important part of a community’s history. People may say ‘We don’t care,’ but giving the people the option will help. If they wait until the bulldozers come, there will be another angry outcry of people saying ‘We didn’t know this was happening,’” Lindmier said. “Even just saving the rotunda would be great.”
“I want them to save it all. If they can’t afford it, they can sell it,” Dobos said.
I feel very strongly about this school building being saved.  This was my school for 7 years, the best 7 years of my life possibly.  The school has changed my life for the better.  It would be great to see the building saved as a historic building, and for the Library Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to continue their services in this building.  Teachers, parents, students, speech pathologists, etc. from all over the state use this library for materials and resource, with the librarian mailing out materials/resources frequently.  It's an absolutely fantastic source of materials and resources for anyone that are deaf/hoh or associated with the deaf/hoh.  It's also a very unique building, and it would certainly be a shame if it was demolished.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

new earmold!

My new earmold finally arrived at my hearing aid audie's office!  I got up this morning and checked my emails real quick on my ipad, and saw a message from the audie's assistant saying the mold was in.  So of course, I conned my dog into his crate, got dressed, grabbed my packed lunch and took off to get the earmold!  Had to wait a bit as there was another person ahead of me waiting for assistance from the assistant.  Finally, she got the earmold fitted to my hearing aid.  Looks cool, feels like it fits pretty well.  I'm happy!

Cat eye design from Westone.  I like it!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

No Neptune swim

Headed off for my trip and made it to Yankton, SD with my grandparents and aunt on Thursday evening. Granda, Aunt B and I decided to go down to the pool at the hotel, so I took myAB travel case out of my pack pack so I would waterproof the Neptune. The battery had just died too so I was needing a fresh battery. I searched through the entire case and realized jaws missing something... An important piece that makes the Neptune waterproof after removing the Control.... A cover cap! Oh no! How didi manage that?! I was so looking forward to experiencing the sounds of the pool with the Neptune.  I'm fairly certain it's still in the Neptune case that I left at home.

I ended up deciding I wanted to bring both processors for the trip, so I redid the packing of my implant processors. I packed the Harmony in the Harmony dry case and put that into the AB travel case. I stored 7 or 8 extra AAA in the Little Things wallet thingy, and that went in the travel case. The AquaMic and spare UHP was packed into the travel case. But somehow, I forgot to take the waterproof cover out of Neptune case, so that got left behind. Dang!

I had considered calling AB to see if they would overnight a cover cap for me. Ha ha.  I didn't.  I'll just have to take my nephew swimming when I get back home and give the Neptune a try then.  The quest for swimming with the Neptune has been delayed.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Getting ready for vacation

Next week I will be heading out for a short vacation to another state, which should be fun!  I have a cousin that is getting married, so that is where I am headed.  The hotel has a pool, which has me excited. Hopefully I'll have some free time so I can take the Neptune processor for a swim.  I have really been wanting to try the Neptune in a pool setting, but haven't had the opportunity to do so. So hopefully I'll get the chance next week.  I haven't gone swimming in such a long time.  I basically have quit swimming because I hated having to take my hearing aid off and not being able to hear what's going on.  Last time I swam, I think it was when I did the brief swim test in high school, and haven't been in a pool since then. That's a long time.  But now that I have the Neptune, I really ought to start going to the Aquatic Center or the Y and go for a swim.  My mom has been checking into taking swim lessons and I'd like to take them with her.  Having the Neptune would definitely be very useful and helpful during the lessons.

Am also debating on whether I should just take the Neptune, or both processors?  Seems to make more sense to just bring the Neptune, as I'll also be bringing my FM with me so I can listen to music during the trip, and that sort of thing.  Bringing both processors, I'd have to bring both cases, both sets of batteries, etc., I think I would just go crazy trying to keep track of everything!  Yeah, think I may just do the Neptune alone, and make sure to pack plenty of AAA batteries.

I also have a new earmold in the make as well.  Finally saw my hearing aid audie last week to get the earmold impression made.  I have requested a red cat-eye design for it, so we'll see how it turns out when Westone sends it back to the audie's office.  I probably won't get the earmold before I head out, which would be a bummer, but that's ok.  At least I'll have a new earmold at some point!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Got the CI tweaked!

Had my MAPping appointment today, and it went well!  Audie did the same test with my CI that she did when I was still in the OR, testing the nerve response.  She said each response looked beautiful and was very happy with it.  Then we got to making new MAPs.  P1 is the old program (60 IDR, HiRes-P), P2 is the new one (70 IDR, HiRes-P), and P3 is 70 IDR, HiRes-S.  This way I can experiment between HiRes P and S and see which one I like, and see how I tolerate the IDR 70.  So far I'm tolerating it, and have switched between P2 and P3 just for experiment's sake.  Tomorrow night's ASL Silent Dinner at On The Border should be a good place for me to experiment with the different programs, as well as the bowling alley this coming Saturday for deaf social and so on.  I didn't need more volume; been using the same volume level since October basically.  So now we can focus on trying different things, see which programming works best, that sort of thing.  She brought up all of the frequency levels a bit, and the very last one was brought up quite a bit as I was able to tolerate better today. 

My very good friend, who's been my interpreter for me in school from K-12, came as well.  She wanted to ask the audie a few questions, and I didn't mind her tagging along.  She was curious about the different programming strategies and that sort of thing too.

I can definitely say this.. P2 with HiRes-P, is loud.  P3 with HiRes-S is quieter, and audie brought up the volume levels for P3 too.  Thinking maybe she could have brought up the volume some more for P3, but that's ok.  That's what the volume dial is for.  Just have to remember to turn it down before switching back to P2!  Now let's make sure I'm not getting P1 and P3 mixed up on the Neptune... I always forget which slot is P1 and which is P3. P2 is obvious, as it's in the middle. But the other 2, I get them mixed up. Will have to look in the Neptune instructions book to make sure I have it right.

Also, last Friday was WYHI Day.  I went, and had a great time!  Usually WYHI is for deaf/hoh students in grades K-12, even preschoolers.  But plenty of adults still like to come too.  I really enjoyed myself, chatting with different people.  There was one person who came up to me and another interpreter (we were chatting, and she was asking if I knew who that person was and I said no), and I got t looking at him... Well, his face certainly is familiar, but his hair wasn't!  He was one of the coaches for the Wyoming team for the Deaf Academic Bowl in 2003 and 2004, and he was completely bald then.  I almost didn't recognize him with his hair.  But it was great chatting with him for a bit!  And my former school for the deaf teacher has told me to get to planning a reunion for our group from the deaf school days.  I've already been texting with one friend, asking if she'd help me plan it and recruit everyone.  I'm pretty excited with the reunion idea, and sure hope I hear back from everyone I've sent messages to.  So far I've only heard from one classmate.  Hopefully the others will chime in soon enough.  The friend that's helping, she'll contact her sister and brother, and another classmate, since they're all in Colorado, and will text yet another since I'm not sure how often he gets on facebook. It would be fun if we all could get together.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

New sounds, auditory rehab

There was a deaf ice cream social at the Dairy Queen today that I went to. It was fun, just hanging out, socializing a bit and just watching everyone socialize.

I picked up on a couple of new sounds. I heard the 1 year old girl smacking her lips as she ate her ice cream cone. I was a few chairs away from her and her mom, but I could hear her little lips smacking. And I only had the implant on, the hearing aid was off. I also teased a deaf friend a bit for being noisy.. He was just playing with the empty aluminum can he had. I kept hearing this sound, and it took me a few minutes of looking around until I realized it was just him crinkling the can.

Seems like I've been using the hearing aid much less than usual these days. Just focusing on listening with the implant and trying to make sense of what I'm hearing. I spent about half an hour using the Able rehab app on my iPad last night, just listening and doing my best to tap on the word I think is being said. As I get further along on the first level, it gets more trickier. Tike and dike, took and cook, key and tea.... the words that sound extremely similar are still tricky for me to get. But I'm still working at it. I also played around a bit with a piano app I have on the iPad, just to see if I could hear the difference between the keys right next to each other. I can't hear the difference between 2 keys right next to each other, but if I play 1 key, then aother that's further away from the first I can hear that difference. I think I can hear the slight difference with the implant though, but it's hard to tell.

I haven't done much with any auditory rehab tools lately. With school in the mornings, and work in the afternoons, by the time I get home I have dinner, do some homework, and then I'm just tired and want to take it easy. But I do try to watch TV with just the implant alone (unless a new episode is on, then I'm more likely to have the hearing aid on too).

Just got a statement from Medicare today, for the Prevnar 13 vaccine that I got in March.... $300?! Whew. Glad Medicare covered it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

New Listening app from AB!

Advanced Bioncs now has a listening rehab app which can be downloaded for free from the App store iPads. Do search in the app store for 'Advanced Bionics' or 'able' and it should come up.  I've only tried 1 level so far, but so far I'm liking it.  It's similar to the Clix tool from AB's Listening Room.  Download the app and add it to your auditory rehab toolbox!

Updated 4-8-13: Here's the link for the able app from iTunes.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Trying FM on Neptune again

After a few more attempts of trying to get the Phonak FM system to work with my Neptune with no results, and after a few emails back and forth with an AB regional specialist, he called AB and asked them to send me a new Neptune Connect, in hopes that would solve my FM problem.  Yesterday when I got home, there was a FedEx package waiting for me under my welcome mat.  Yay new Neptune Connect is here!  I dropped everything else I had with me onto my chair, then got the Neptune from the book case where I keep all my CI stuff on and got to work.  Took the original Connect off, put the new one on, plugged the MLxi FM receiver into the FM port on the Neptune connect, turned everything on and voila!  FM was working great.  Something must have gotten loose or something like that in the original Connect.  Hopefully I don't encounter this problem again.  I remember the first time I tried using the FM set up on my Neptune, months before I even got the new transmitter, and had no problems with getting the FM to work.  Worked great right off the bat but then a few months later (after getting the new Phonak transmitter), lots of trouble.  Hmmm...  The original Neptune Connect is being mailed back to AB today.

Was going to play with the FM today with my iPod... This morning, the iPod still had enough battery power that it should have lasted while I worked.  Tried turning the iPod on a few minutes ago, and nada.  Oh great.  It's charging now, but I can't play with it while it's charging, since it's an older iPod.  Wish my iPod Touch's audio port wasn't broken, it didn't matter if it was charging or not, it would still be playable.  Ah maybe I should just load some music to my iPhone instead... but alas, my desktop tower seems to be dead (and my iTunes is on that computer with all the music loaded on it).  I'll have to spend some time updating the iTunes on my laptop and resyncing the music over (good thing I have an external hard drive that has all of my music and photos!).  There's no school tomorrow, due to it being Good Friday, so perhaps I'll have some time to get my iTunes all set up on my laptop and get some music synced to the iPhone.

Technology.... most of the time it's fantastic, but there are moments when it's just a pain to deal with.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Georgia Tech team drastically improving cochlear implant device that assists thousands of hearing impaired

The cochlear implant is widely considered to be the most successful neural prosthetic on the market. The implant, which helps deaf individuals perceive sound, translates auditory information into electrical signals that go directly to the brain, bypassing cells that don't serve this function as they should because they are damaged.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately 188,000 people worldwide have received cochlear implants since these devices were introduced in the early 1980s, including roughly 41,500 adults and 25,500 children in the United States.

Despite their prevalence, cochlear implants have a long way to go before their performance is comparable to that of the intact human ear. Led by Pamela Bhatti, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, a team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a new type of interface between the device and the brain that could dramatically improve the sound quality of the next generation of implants.

A normal ear processes sound the way a Rube Goldberg machine flips a light switch – via a perfectly-timed chain reaction involving a number of pieces and parts. First, sound travels down the canal of the outer ear, striking the eardrum and causing it to vibrate. The vibration of the eardrum causes small bones in the middle ear to vibrate, which in turn, creates movement in the fluid of the inner ear, or cochlea. This causes movement in tiny structures called hair cells, which translate the movement into electrical signals that travel to the brain via the auditory nerve.

Dysfunctional hair cells are the most common culprit in a type of hearing loss called sensorineural deafness, named for the resulting breakdown in communication between the ear and the brain. Sometimes the hair cells don't function properly from birth, but severe trauma or a bad infection can cause irreparable damage to these delicate structures as well.

Contemporary cochlear implants

Traditional hearing aids, which work by amplifying sound, rely on the presence of some functioning hair cells. A cochlear implant, on the other hand, bypasses the hair cells completely. Rather than restoring function, it works by translating sound vibrations captured by a microphone outside the ear into electrical signals. These signals are transmitted to the brain by the auditory nerve, which interprets them as sound.

Cochlear implants are only recommended for individuals with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss, meaning those who aren't able to hear sounds below 70 decibels. (Conversational speech typically occurs between 20 and 60 decibels.)

The device itself consists of an external component that attaches via a magnetic disk to an internal component, implanted under the skin behind the ear. The external component detects sounds and selectively amplifies speech. The internal component converts this information into electrical impulses, which are sent to a bundle of thin wire electrodes threaded through the cochlea.

Improving the interface

As an electrical engineer, Bhatti sees the current electrode configuration as a significant barrier to clear sound transmission in the current device.

"In an intact ear, the hair cells are plentiful, and are in close contact with the nerves that transmit sound information to the brain," says Bhatti. "The challenge with the implant is getting efficient coupling between the electrodes and the nerves."

Contemporary implants contain between 12 and 22 wire electrodes, each of which conveys a signal for a different pitch. The idea is the more electrodes, the clearer the message.

So why not add more wire electrodes to the current design and call it a day?

Much like house-hunting in New York City, the problem comes down to a serious lack of available real estate. At its widest, the cochlea is 2 millimeters in diameter, or about the thickness of a nickel. As it coils, it tapers down to a mere 200 micrometers, about the width of a human hair.

"While we'd like to be able to increase the number of electrodes, the space issue is a major challenge from an engineering perspective," says Bhatti.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Bhatti and her team have developed a new, thin-film, electrode array that is up to three times more sensitive than traditional wire electrodes, without adding bulk.

Unlike wire electrodes, the new array is also flexible, meaning it can get closer to the inner wall of the cochlea. The researchers believe this will create better coupling between the array and the nervous system, leading to a crisper signal.

According to Bhatti, one of the biggest challenges is actually implanting the device into the spiral-shaped cochlea.

"We could have created the best array in the world, but it wouldn't have mattered if the surgeon couldn't get it in the right spot," says Bhatti.

To combat this problem, the team has invented an insertion method that protects the array and serves as a guide for surgeons to ensure proper placement. The research is being done in collaboration with Georgia Regents University.

Before it's approved for use in humans, it will need to undergo rigorous testing to ensure that it is both safe and effective; however, Bhatti is already thinking about what's next. She envisions that one day, the electrodes won't need to be attached to an array at all. Instead, they will be anchored directly to the cochlea with a biocompatible material that will allow them to more seamlessly integrate with the brain.

The most important thing, according to Bhatti, is not to lose sight of the big picture.

"We are always designing with the end-user in mind," says Bhatti. "The human component is the most important one to consider when we translate science into practice."


HiRes Optima™ Sound Processing from Advanced Bionics Receives Worldwide Approval

VALENCIA, Calif., March 20, 2013 – Advanced Bionics (AB), a global leader in cochlear implant technology and a company of the Sonova Group, announced today that it received FDA, Health Canada and TÜV approval for the global distribution of HiRes Optima™* sound processing. The world’s newest sound strategy for cochlear implant recipients, HiRes Optima delivers optimized battery life with the same great performance as AB’s patented HiRes Fidelity 120™* processing. AB cochlear implant recipients using this new technology enjoy an average improvement of 55% in battery life, giving them considerably more time to hear their world before needing to change a battery.

As part of a company-wide commitment to providing the best performance, Advanced Bionics continually innovates sound processing technology to help recipients experience as close to normal hearing as possible. AB built HiRes Optima processing on the HiRes Fidelity 120 platform to benefit from its built-in performance capabilities. As the industry’s only sound strategy that uses 120 spectral bands to deliver five times more sound resolution than any other cochlear implant system, HiRes Fidelity 120 has been developed to reveal all the dimensions of sound, from the rich layers of music to the subtle nuances of tone during a conversation. HiRes Optima provides the same rich and detailed sound with an improved battery life.

“Nothing on the market can compete with the sound quality from our HiRes Fidelity 120 technology. To deliver the same performance and substantially increase battery life for our recipients is a great accomplishment,” said Hansjuerg Emch, President of Advanced Bionics and Group Vice President of the Sonova Medical Division within which AB resides. “HiRes Optima perfectly represents the intense effort and engineering expertise that make AB the leading innovator in our industry.”

Benefiting from the HiRes Fidelity 120 platform, HiRes Optima also delivers AB’s proprietary current steering technology. Other implants use a single current source to stimulate only one electrode at a time, limiting the number of potential spectral bands. Like AB’s HiRes Fidelity 120, HiRes Optima has multiple current sources, enabling two or more electrodes to be stimulated at the same time. This simultaneous stimulation allows current to be “steered” between electrodes, giving AB cochlear implant recipients the opportunity to hear more pitches. Recipients using research software have demonstrated the ability to perceive up to 450 pitches.1

HiRes Optima will be available for use with AB’s next-generation sound processor as well as Neptune™ and Harmony™ processors.

For more information about HiRes Optima sound processing, or any Advanced Bionics product, contact a local AB representative or visit


Friday, March 8, 2013

Prevnar-13 vaccine

This past fall, a link from the CDC website was being shared on various CI-related facebook groups and such.  The CDC updated their pneumococcal vaccine guidelines, and recommended that those who are getting a cochlear implant, or those who already have the implants, should get both the Prevnar-13 and the Pneumovax vaccines.  I shared this link with my CI audiologist in email late last October, and she was going to bring it up at the next team meeting at the CI Center.

Well, last week I got mail from the center, and enclosed was the information on the updated vaccination recommendations for cochlear implant users.  I then shot off an email to my primary doctor's nurse about this, and she had to do some research before finding another doctor's office that has the adult Prevnar-13 vaccine.  She was able to get me an appointment with them.

Yesterday, I went to this doctor's office, filled out some paper work, and then got the vaccine.  The nurse was wondering why I was getting it and asked if I was immunocompromised, so I told her it was because of the cochlear implant and the CDC updating the recommendations.  Turns out she has a son with hearing loss, but he doesn't qualify for an implant just yet, but maybe a few years down the road.  Anyway, I got the vaccine, and she covered the injection site with a Daffy Duck bandaid. Cool!  Then I was on my way.  Now I'm covered!

I may not like shots, but I most certainly do not want to take any chances when it comes to pneumococcal meningitis, so I was fine with getting this vaccine (even if it resulted in my arm being pretty sore).

Friday, March 1, 2013


I was almost at work.... I had just turned onto the street in front of the newspaper when I saw an ambulance in the distance.  I pulled over to the curb (I was already out of the ambulance's way), and waited until the ambulance went by.  I wanted to see if I could hear the sirens with my implant.  Nope, not really.  When it was right behind me, I heard the sirens, but it was really quiet and low pitched.  Interesting!  Anything that has a high pitched sound (like female voices and such), they just sound low to me.  Perhaps my audiologist can try to fix that when I see her again in April.  Even listening to certain music, music that was made when the artists were kids, they sound like they have low voices even though they actually had high voices at the time.  I get amused listening to such music, knowing the voices were originally high but they sound low with the implant on.

As for the FM use with my Neptune processor... Well, I have discovered that the set up doesn't always work.  If the Neptune doesn't recognize the MLx receiver, I have to fiddle with it, taking the Neptune apart and everything.  Sometimes it takes a few rounds of disassembling, then reassembling, the Neptune and FM receiver before it finally works.  Not something I want to do during English class, I have no time to be messing around!  I haven't used the Neptune with the FM the last couple of weeks or so.  I use the FM with my hearing aid, then the implant is just the implant with no FM input, and it works out I think.  The set up just has been finicky.  Don't know if it's the Neptune processor, or if it's the FM receiver, but it gets kind of annoying when it doesn't work when I want it to.

Monday, February 4, 2013

ASL class visit

On Friday, I went to a local high school in the morning as the ASL teacher at that school had asked me to come by and talk to her class.  I arrived a bit earlier than expected, but that was ok. She was thrilled to see me, and had to send out a student to retrieve the 2 students she sent out earlier to get me. Anyway, it was a fun visit! The class asked me questions about my being deaf, how did I become deaf, what sort of education I had growing up, etc. They were also curious about my CI experiences as well. It was just fun, and I'm glad I went. I'm always more than happy to talk of my experiences.  The teacher likes to invite different d/Deaf individuals from the local deaf community to visit her classes, so the students can get to know more about them. The classes also have the choice to attend the few deaf socials that are held each month (typically all year round there is deaf bowling; then either deaf ice cream or coffee depending on time of year), so they can practice their ASL skills with the deaf community and improve them. I'd be more than happy to visit with the class again (or any other ASL classes in the community) when I have the time.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Oohh technology...

Been 2 weeks of school so far... for the most part it's going well enough, although I do get a bit frustrated here and there. Frustrated with some of the math, trying to make sense of it. Seriously, fractions are NOT my friend! Also, the captioning set up for English is weird. Seems like I encounter some sort of issue with the set up during each English class. Last Monday, it was working fine for a few minutes, then boom nada.  Turns out I didn't have the microphone charged. Ok.  Last Wednesday and Friday, everything seemed to run smoothly enough, with hiccup here and there (the transcriber would disconnect the call on Skype, call me back and then it's running smoothly again).  This past Wednesday, it seems like there was some trouble with the internet connection?  The disabilities coordinator at the college had the IT department put in a blue network cable into the classroom so I could use it to connect my laptop to the internet instead of relying on wireless (the wireless signals in the room is very weak).  Set up worked fine at first, then we ran into issues, but got everything working again.  But today, nada.  No luck right from the start. We tried everything, reconnecting, restarting the laptop, no such luck. I sent an email to the disabilities coordinator about the troubles, and told him if we keep encountering problems that I just may not want to keep using the captioning service.  It's just not worth my time or the trouble, to have an issue arise and then having to spend time troubleshooting and trying to figure out what's going on, distracting me from the discussions going on in the classroom.  I may be able to get by in that class with the FM only.  The transcriber isn't able to hear the other students in the class when they have something to say, so either way I still miss out on what the students are saying. If I continue to encounter problems next week in English class with the captioning, I'm calling it quits with the service.  It's a great service when it works well, but if I'm just going to be encountering issues every so often, forget it.

Now, as for the FM set up... I went back to the audiologist the 14th... The ML10i came in, and we got that attached to my hearing aid. Tested it with the Smartlink+, and it worked great!  We tried fussing with the old MLx receiver for my Neptune yet again, and got no results. So we were quite stumped. The audiologist even spent some time on the phone with Phonak for some help as well.  Oh well, I was sent on my way with the Smartlink+ and the new receiver attached to my hearing aid.  We were starting to think perhaps the old receiver just isn't compatible with the Smartlink+.  But during the week, I played around with the FM system some more at home, and boom I got it working! Excellent, now I didn't have to worry about needing to get a new receiver afterall!

Today, I'm usig the FM set up with my ipod, and it's fantastic.  I connected the ipod to the Smartlink+, and music is playing in my ears without my needing to wear wires. Oh how nice it is to be wire-free!  I love it!  I don't need a separate set up for each ear device anymore. Sweet!
Update: The College's IT person checked the connection in the classroom, and even moved the network cable to a different desk. It seems my laptop was sharing the connection with the teacher/classroom computer, but now I should have my own network connection separate from the classroom computer. Will try it out on Monday and see how that goes, and hope the set up works better.