Monthly Archives: October 2012

Harry’s Headband

Are you interested in Harry’s headband design???
Do you have trouble keeping your little ones cochlear implants on all day. Does the pediatric kit drive you nuts?

If you are looking for something similar please contact me directly as I am happy to share the pattern with you or possibly provide you with one if you are in Australia.

My aim is to have a whole batch made up before the end of this year to distribute to those who need them or would like to try them. One of my readers has already benefited from giving me her feedback and I would be so happy if our design helped many others.
We have tweaked the design from the images below so the microphones are not covered by the fabric . I have had Australian Hearing and the Melbourne Cochlear Implant Clinic check it over and they both think the new design works well.

So please let me know if you are interested even if you live on the other side of the world from us- I am sure the issues are the same world wide!!!!





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I hear music

kid hears music for the first time

When chatting to or reading stories by other mums of CI kids , I take specific interest in anecdotal stories about their love of music.

These stories never stop amazing me with the ability of hearing impaired or profoundly deaf children who learn to play musical instruments or like Sophie Li , become high level dancers.

I came across this YouTube video recently and thought I’d share it with you as another example of how CI’s can give kids completely normal lives.

So what about Harry’s musical talent ?

I am not sure . He doesn’t seem to get the beat when we play music to him.

What he does do though is mimic the tune quite accurately after the song has stopped playing. He also picks up nursery rhyme words through song- I just don’t see him bopping or tapping in time to the beat .

Our Auslan tutor suggested to me when I asked her of her own interpretation of music, that she found sitting on or close to a speaker really helpful to ” hear ” the beat. She hears music through vibration as many deaf people do. It is not a given that the CI ‘s would give Harry a quality of music that he found enjoyable. You read varying reports from CI users as to whether music is enjoyable through their CI. Musical sound definition is certainly a high priority on the list of new developments for the cochlear implant.
I am getting the impression it may not sound that great to Harry.

It could of course also have something to do with the fact we now all use iPods or iPhones to play our music housed on compact speakers. In an acoustically controlled environment this sound quality can be awesome, but in your local church hall it is practically in audible . Here begins the challenge of music classes for toddlers.

I have been on the hunt for a music class that will assist Harry in a love for music and that will also allow him to learn new words through someone singing in tune ( as opposed to my monotone singing voice) . Each one I have trialled is in a massive empty church hall with 4 or 5 kids with their mum and a lonesome teacher. The tunes are played on an iPod on a portable system and the words disappear into the vacuum of space that houses us. He doesn’t mind the part where we play instruments as any boy loves to hit and bang or shake some bells . But without acknowledgement from his brain that there is a beat to follow it seems just a pointless exercise.

In the early days our lovely friend Beata opened up her music studio for Harry and with a voice like an angel in a small studio she used to sing to him. He was only wearing hearing aids then so the high pitch of her voice somehow permeated through to his brain and we delighted to see him turn to her voice.

So I think that is more evidence the sound he hears from recorded music is translated very differently to his brain than the way our brains hear it. I would love to know from other CI users what they think… As perhaps it might be a matter of his age and in the future plasticity of his brain at such a young age will allow him to learn to appreciate music in whatever form it is presented to him.




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From listening to speech

It is now Week 30 since Harry’s Switch On date back in March.  We had 4 weeks in there without sound while he was sick but I am not sure if that is counted.

Back at Week 15 we had clocked up the following words that Harry repeated and recognised as linked to an object:

  1. Mumm- mummy
  2. Baa- sheep
  3. Moo- cow
  4. shh- for baby sleeping

 Now at Week 30 we can add unprompted “words”

  1. EE- ii -ee-ii -oo
  2. Brmm- aRR  for car
  3. Up
  4. Banana
  5. Ali- ce ( we are not quite sure  if it is Ali or Alice but time will tell)

The two most recent are banana and Alice, but Dan is doubtful that he has mastered banana based on my video.  One thing is for sure, he says, Harry won’t be voted in as the spokesman for the Queensland Banana Growers Association. Not just yet.

This list is not exhaustive. There are heaps more words he recognises but doesn’t speak.  He has started to incorporate Auslan signs and general pointing gestures to communicate them to us so I don’t think it will be long before he starts to vocalise the words as well.   I apologise for no video, I really need to find a new and better way to upload them.  

Today we had another mapping session at the CIC . Here they were testing his tolerance levels to loud sounds to see if he could be put back up to the levels he had prior to being sick.  We are now just above those levels which is really encouraging and there is no doubt his sickness has not set his development back at all.

I chatted to the Audiologists at the Clinic today about last weeks 30th Anniversary of the first commercial cochlear Implant operation. I love the old photos Cochlear has posted on their website to mark this occasion.  ( check out )

It is a visual timeline of the Cochlear Implant History and the part Graeme Clark played in bringing this amazing technology to everyday people. We now have a date to meet Graeme Clark next month and we are beyond excited. Every day we think about what Harry’s life would have been like without sound and how lucky we are to live in this Age.

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Some new words

Did you think it was about time Harry uttered some more words?

I don’t actually think “uttering” is actually in Harry’s vocabulary, as the volume level he is inclined to share with us is nothing short of loud.

It could be that he is learning by example from his sisters and their daily screeching; at me, at each other or my screeching at them the non- stop orders about bags, hair, teeth, homework and picking up wet towels from the floor. There is no doubt the sound experience of a 3rd child is primarily made-up of a barrage of commands and the click of car seat and pram buckles.

Amidst all this Harry has managed to piece together the sounds of 2 more words in the last week to 10 days. As I mentioned in earlier posts we need to hear him say the words in context more than once to ensure it is not a fluke or wishful thinking.  But for sure there is an element of intereptation in deciphering these words.

Have a guess at what you think it they might be….  I’ve only been able to record one of them so far.  As soon as technology  allows me to upload it please check out “Meet Harry” on the Blog menu and go to Harry 16 mnths.

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