People with hearing loss are stressed! We reach for a sound, make a face, and then we're either sort of satisfied or you just fake it.
The same goes for music. I hear with a cochlear processor now (big hearing aids before that) and music is mostly noisy. Once in a while, though, a clear musical tone will reach me. Wow! And I wonder, "why did I hear that?"
I'm going to share with you those memorable moments. I will never forget what I heard and where I was.
She was an opera singer with a beautiful voice. I don't think we could even see her, her voice was in the back round, which was amazing because I always rely on the visual.
We were in our living room in front of the TV watching, I really don't remember, possibly a documentary, with, of course the closed captions going. I suddenly snapped to attention and heard it perfectly.
She sang acapella (without accompaniment, and the sound drew me in. . . . .
One simple note at a time. Now, when I hear that, I enjoy a big involuntary deep breath.
Why did I hear it? Because one clean note alone was presented. Because the female voice falls into the correct frequency range for someone with a CI or hearing aid. Because her tone rings out like a bell and since she is singing alone, there is no other tones competing with it to mush it up.
Confession: This is not the original sound I heard, nor is it as good. And it's a lesson for us. Too much reverb. Reverb is our enemy.
For me, though, I still enjoy the above voice.
For my radio stations, I pick out the most upfront, crisp songs without reverb. I simply COULD NOT FIND any recordings of a female opera singer without an accompaniment! I would LOVE to find acapella music because it's one simple note and if any readers have knowledge of any, please let me know. I think you can respond to the blog.
In my musical listening experiments, I quickly caught on that female singers stay in tune for me through my cochlear processer. Male voices do not.
Lower male voices end up (for me, through my cochlear processor) 1/2 key lower than the accompaniment. Meaning the other instruments in the song stay on the original key, but the male voice doesn't. A tenor voice (higher male voice) might stay where it should through my processor, but a strong, low, male voice always dips down 1/2 key.
I've read that the Cochlear processor doesn't process lower sounds, and there's not much we can do about this.
I can tell you, though, that when I'm listening to my Hear Music Again radio stations, the sound is crisp and clear to me. This is still a huge step up from the mushy stuff I hear everywhere else. So even if the intonation is a bit off, it's still very enjoyable.
Of course we all hear at different levels. I once heard music, lost my hearing, hear through the processor, and hear the songs on my radio stations really well! People like me will also love it.
My next memorable moment is the time I walked into a gift shop in West Hartford because I was shopping for Christmas presents for my teenage daughter. The shop had a Zen vibe and although I'm not very familiar with Zenny things, I was drawn to the brassy singing bowls display and asked the clerk for help. She picked up the wand, and circled it around the rim of the bowl. . . . . . . . .
What a clear, true sound!! Not only did I hear it and loved it, I could also feel the vibrations! It was so cool that I took over the wand and easily made the beautiful sound myself which gave the instrument and myself a lovely connection, and I bought it!
I'll bet you heard that!
I've always been a sucker for garden shop wind chimes. When I arrive, I make a B line right for them. The big ones! I'm desperate for BIG sound!! I'm like a cat teasing its toy, and pretending no one notices.
I move the wand. . . . . . . . . . .
Hey, hey, we just heard more than one note! We are graduating!
Striking the metal tube, we get the bright bell tone and then another.
Each tone gets to ring out on its own, alone! This is very important!
We may not hear the actual key of the chime correctly. Chimes vibrate a lot of frequencies that bounce all over the place. But, whatever key we're hearing, it's enjoyable, it's music!
I'd love to let loose in the above shop. Hey mister, do you have any gongs?
Again, each tone gets to ring out on its own.
This is why I love listening to jazz music. Each player takes a turn.
Then I began experimenting with recording. That's when my ringtones for people with hearing loss project began.
Wanna hear a few? Of course you do. . . . . . . . .
A simple, bright, sound.
A much clearer rendition of Fur Elise played by this piano player from Hart School of Music.
And let's top it off with a little crisp trio of rhythm, drums, bass and singer by my friend, "The infamous Paul Lombardo."
Remember, we keep it simple. . . . . . Join us at HearMusicAgain.org. . . . . . Listen to 24/7 music on WHMA mix and WHRA rock internet radio stations.
Sharp, clear and ready to hear!
.A while back, it seemed that everyone was downloading fun musical ringtones to their cell phones.
I have a severe hearing loss. (But I also have a musical memory because I once heard music clearly).
I was frustrated because whenever I tried to download a ringtone that interested me, it always sounded mushy, making it difficult to hear and not worth bothering with.
For instance, I wanted Beethoven's Fur Elise. I could not find a single ringtone rendition that was clear enough to even recognize the tune.
And I wanted the Batman TV show theme, but the reverb in the original recording made it unrecognizable!!
I wanted "In the mood" by Glen Miller. Couldn't find a good one So I made my own!
I recorded 11 all together.
After my hearing hit rock bottom, I became obsessed with the need to hear a pleasing musical sound. Sometimes a tone or song would come through to me and I'd wonder why? So I began experimenting on myself. LOL
By using certain instruments and arranging them together ( I will explain in future posts) I have developed a formula for presenting musical sound more clearly to people with hearing loss.
For my ringtones, I wanted to use real musicians, playing real instruments and we ended up using piano (playing one note at a time) trumpet, saxophone, electric guitar (no chords, one note) and vocals.
At the time, I was in a song-writing kick and was well connected to a great recording studio with excellent musicians.
The key is to keep it very simple using just one instrument carrying the melody. I would hear them through my cochlear processor as they recorded the music.
Today's recording engineers add reverb and layers of instruments which are deadly to use hearing aid and CI users, so I would advise them to lower it.
Fur Elise Rondo Unchained Melody In the mood Beethoven's 5th Reveille call
Greig's piano concerto in A minor King of the Road Satisfaction (Rolling Stones)
Theme to Mission Impossible
I chose familiar melodies and included classical, jazz and TV movie themes.
I switch back and forth and love it. They will certainly give the alert that someone is calling!!
You are welcome to download the ringtones to your cell phone free of charge. Find them on my website: http://www.HearMusicAgain.org
We'll go out with another: This is the full-length version here, not the ringtone loop.
And while you're there, join us at WHMA mix and WHRA rock internet radio for People with Hearing loss.
Crisp, clear and ready to Hear!!
I'm very excited about my cochlear processor!
I slowly lost my hearing over a span of 20 years and became a candidate for one.
It was a life changer for me because I can hear the spoken word again. I can hear what my family and friends are saying without having to stand directly in front of them and stare at their lips. I don't even need to be in the same room and I can hear them. I can speak on the phone again. I mean, it really changed everything.
Before the switch to the processor, I was having trouble hearing music with my two big hearing aids. Music was all noise.
Music is quite a bit better for me with the processor but I still have trouble!
You may have a moderate to severe hearing loss and use either hearing aids or a cochlear processors. And you may ask...."Why is music so hard to hear clearly? What makes it so noisy, stressful and mushy?"
Let me try to explain this in my own words based on my own experience as a person with severe hearing loss.
The way I see it, we don't have the ability to hear the frequencies present in the song.
If the average song ranges from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz (frequencies) and we have a limited capacity through the processor with the possibility of hearing up to only 8000 frequencies and a very limited amount of bass frequencies, we are missing a lot of the song!
Cochlear implants transmit sounds within the frequency range most important to speech perception. Not music.
Hearing aids can only give you the frequencies YOU have the capacity to hear!
Let's begin presenting music to people with hearing loss so that they can relax and enjoy.
And, I'm loaded with ideas!
And we do it by presenting music with fewer frequencies! It's a very simple solution and it surprises me that people don't think about the fact that we even need it!
A few years ago I attended a lovely gathering of musicians in Washington, DC. It was presented by AAMHL, Adult Musicians with hearing loss Association. There were lots of great musicians attending, all with hearing loss, and also good information was given in the classes.
As I sat there listening to them play and also speak of their struggles with presenting music while dealing with hearing loss, I began realizing that we are all trying desperately
to make our musical presentation the same old way for the same old people........people with good hearing! Who cares! They've got a ton! What about US?
I've been paying attention to what instruments are much more easy to hear through a cochlear processor or hearing aid.
I've paid attention to which instruments we can combine for clear hearing.
I now know how the instruments should interact together for our enjoyment.
And most importantly, ones that DON'T!
And now about "Sophie the cat!"
This is not Sophie. Sophie is a sweet little white cat with a cochlear processor. This cat is certainly a very "cool" cat, though!
The story of Sophie the cat intrigued me a number of years back. She was featured on a podcast I came across by Charles Limb who is an Otologic Surgeon for the University of California. He's also a musician and researches the difficulties people with cochlear processors have with music. Along with lots of other interesting information, Charles presented in his podcast about music and Cochlear Implants, he added an interesting film featuring Sophie.
You should watch the film, but in a nutshell, Sophie's reaction to the sounds of music parallels with MINE! She and I became one! The whole film by Charles is interesting and Sophie comes on about 3/4 in.
Please check the podcast and I will continue to expound on presenting music to people with hearing loss in my next posts.
https://youtu.be/W5lIO3F_YSo Choose the TedMed podcast with Charles Limb
Today, I have launched my two internet radio stations and since I'm also a person with hearing loss who desperately misses and NEEDS music in my life, I'm writing the first review!
I'm in my kitchen and I've pulled up HearMusicAgain.org on my laptop which is sitting on the counter. My laptop is connected to my favorite little Bose speaker the Sound Link Mini which is a little gem that boosts bass sounds nicely and gives me a satisfying sound.
Of course, headphones could give me the ultimate listening experience, but I like the freedom of moving around my house without being connected to something, and allows me to share the music with my family. Since it's all picked for it's clarity, they're loving it too. We had a ball with the sharp, clear Christmas music over the holidays.
There are 2 stations to choose from. When I started the project, I tried to squeeze it all together into one, but I realized Judy Garland's Over the Rainbow wasn't mixing with the Grateful Dead somehow.
So, station 1 WHMA, Hear Music Again is Soft Rock, Oldies (some are VERY old and I will explain why in my next post) Jazz, Classical and Authentic Country while station 2 WHRA, Hear Rock Again gives you Rock, Blues, Funk and Soul.
It's really fun to switch from one station to the other.
I don't want to do anything else! I could make another pie I suppose. It's been so long since I've heard these wonderful songs!
This isn't just mood music. It's a hearing experience! To us with bad hearing, we're used to dealing with noisy sound but here, you will hear song after song after song 24/7 WAY better than any other radio presentation. Also perfect for Seniors!
Back to my pie making........without exaggeration, I've made over 20 apple pies in the last 4 months.
For people with hearing loss, sound comes to us differently. For people who heard music for a good amount of their lives and then have lost that ability, the Hear Music Again stations are for you!
I'm Nanette Florian, a former lead singer and first female bass player for the famous folk band The New Christy Minstrels.
Unfortunately, I began losing my hearing at age 20, and became totally deaf by age 40. Hearing loss runs in my family.
Listening to music has been difficult.
I now hear through a cochlear processor which allows me to hear the SPOKEN word rather nicely, but if you're like me and use either hearing aids or cochlear processors, when you're listening to music, you hear plenty of sound, but it is usually distorted, making melodies almost impossible to distinguish.
While chasing my kids around the house during those years when my hearing hit rock bottom, I would occasionally be stunned by a song or tone that would stop me in my tracks. Why was THAT so easy to hear and why are my eyes filled with tears? I was reminded of how much I'd been missing.
Well, I began concentrating on a formula for presenting clearer music. So began Hear Music Again where you will find clearer, purer and noise-free music for anyone who is also missing out and would like to indeed Hear Music Again!
Please check out WHMA Mix and WHRA Rock, my 2 new internet radio stations for people with hearing loss at
Founder of HearMusicAgain.org