My cochlear implant odyssey continues, and today the subject is auditory memory. I have written about this before - in my book, Listening Closely: A Journey to Bilateral Hearing.
Auditory memory can be defined as "the ability to process information presented orally, analyze it mentally and store it to be recalled later." In Listening Closely, I described the most amazing occurrence when I had just gotten my new upgraded CI processor, which had better capacity to represent pitch and music. I was playing a Chopin Nocturne, a piano piece I had originally played as a teenager - and rather than branch out to master new music, I preferred to play this familiar work over and over, just altering the tempo and phrasing. The moment I played it in a very slow and mournful way, my brain immediately informed me that was the way I had played it on the day President Kennedy was shot, 45 years before! (I don't bother writing about things unless they are truly newsworthy!) My brain was absolutely right - that was exactly the way an impressionable teenager coped with the enormous emotions that day, by playing a mournful rendition of that romantic piece. So much for my auditory memory - and the power of cochlear implant technology to replicate that piano sound so accurately as to trigger that long-buried memory! If you'd like to find that passage in the book, it's on page 82, in the section entitled, of course, "The Persistence of Memory."
Fast forward to yesterday - and some of my new "toys." I had just purchased Bose high quality "Quiet Comfort 15" headphones that had been recommended by some of my techie CI friends. They would fit over the "t-mic" microphones of my CI processors, while providing the best sound quality available. I had just gotten a brand new iPhone, too, so I could plug these headphones right into that device. I wanted to do more music listening and practice, to develop my listening skills even further - and also to listen to speech as well, also as practice.
Here comes the fun part. I was discussing all this with my husband, and showing him how the headphones would fit right over my t-mics, when I suddenly shouted out "CAP-TAIN VID-EO," with a robust intonation that I hadn't thought about in decades. Readers of a certain age will know that Captain Video was a TV show in the early 1950's - so early, in fact, that I don't even remember watching it. But I evidently did remember how the announcer pronounced the name of the show - "CAP-TAIN VID-EO!" - with a certain rhythm and tonality. Now that is auditory memory! And for those who don't remember, or aren't old enough to know, Captain Video - listen to the beginning of this YouTube recording of the beginning of the show - and pay attention to how the announcer says "CAPTAIN VIDEO!"
|The title at the beginning of the TV show|
Now comes more fun stuff. Here are two pictures of what Captain Video looked like, along with his Video Ranger:
|Captain Video and his Video Ranger|
And here's what I look like with my new Bose headphones, that triggered that auditory memory!
|Bionic Arlene as Captain Video!|
Now, you can really appreciate the impact of speech and hearing in children. I was so young that I don't even remember watching this program, but the sound of that show evidently made an impression - and an auditory memory - over five decades ago.
And the interesting part is that Captain Video was all science fiction - but Bionic Arlene with her Bose headphones on her bilateral cochlear implant processors - allowing this deaf person to hear music in stereo - is most definitely science reality.