Monday, May 19, 2008

Recognising Country Sounds with the Cochlear Implant

I'm trying to relearn all the sounds again that I had learnt with my first implant, before it stopped working. I'm finding it hard and frustrating at times because of the twang that I am still experiencing, however every now and then I will notice a huge improvement. It obviously improves over time, imperceptibly, then suddenly I'll be in awe of what I'm hearing.

I had the pleasure of spending the day out in the country at my friends place yesterday. They live only 20 minutes drive from me, yet have 8 hectares of land, and all around them are other people who have about the same amount of land. It's a beautiful spot and yesterday was a beautiful day, so after lunch we went for a walk...

Shared driveway to the other lifestyle blocks.

I was interested to see what I would hear with my implant, and whether I would recognise them without being told. All up I did very well. One of the biggest things I noticed that I was able to hear my friend talk to me as we walked along, without having to lipread her. I couldn't do that in noisy situations in the 'burbs' where there is traffic, but out there was perfect. The only noise around was the sheep..

The Goats...
To be perfectly honest, I couldn't differentiate between the sound of a goat and a sheep. All sounded like an American going aiiiiirrrr with that midwestern twang I still have.

The chooks..
The chooks were friendly but didn't give me any sound.

But then this little bird in its high pitched chatter turned up...
I heard him first before I saw him, and eventually his flitting caught my eye and I managed to get him on camera before he went. Thats when it hit me. I HEARD him before I saw him. I hadn't been able to do that for a whole year. And once I had seen him, I recognised his chatter for the rest of our walk, although he didn't give me another opportunity to take his picture. This little bird is a New Zealand native fantail or Piwakawaka in case you're wondering.

Did I tell you that it was a glorious winter day. Not a cloud in the sky. I mean - this is Auckland - land of grey winter skies. Except not this year. I have proof...

Just here I saw a wild rabbit and a pukeko but they were too far away to get to with my lens. I willed them to come closer, but my will wasn't working properly yesterday!

The weather is making everyone happy and joyful - including the animals. I have photographic proof of this too..
You can see the bigger version of this in my other blog. He's just panting, but he did bark a little, and I definitely heard it as a bark and nothing else. In case you're wondering this little imp is a cross between a Jack Russell and a Silky.

I just love these country letterbox scenes you come across out here. Always in a bunch, and lots of different colours usually. I feel compelled to paint one of these red! Photographically the image would be better if one was bright red. I think it should be compulsory for there to be at least one red letterbox amongst any group, all over the country.
I wonder if I went back with a paintbrush I could get away with it? 'I'm just painting the town red' would be my answer!

No country lifestyle block scene is complete without the miniature horse. It didn't make a sound - but it's very very cute. Probably can't make a sound while it had it's muzzle on. Makes me wonder if it has a tendency to bite! Small things are usually ferocious to make up for their size.

Going back to the house we were greeted by Scuppers asking us WHERE we had been, without HIM??! This is the cat I rescued from a neighbour 2 years ago. He looks well and healthy, and is not related to the kitten I rescued this year, even though they're the same colour.

He's rather gorgeous don't you think? Very friendly - and loves it out here in the country. When I arrived he was playing Cat and Mouse. An hour later he was still playing with this tiny mouse so we rescued it - not a mark on it. The mouse was very relieved to get back to the wild, and we had one grumpy cat for its toy being taken away from him. But he was only grumpy for about 2 seconds..

Finally it was time to leave. I had to go via this road. It was so beautiful, and the light fantastic, I nearly hightailed it back to my friend to tell her I was moving in. Who wouldn't want to live in a place like this?

Don't forget to check out my photography blog over at this link


Bron said...

Wow! Those photos look so amazing.

K.L. said...

Your photographs are beautiful. Do you sell them? I would love to have a few for desktops.

Anonymous said...

Hi K.L,

I don't sell downloads for desktops, but if you want to pick out a few I can send you the small files for the desktop via email.

I do sell my images on deviantart and redbubble (wall mounts, posters, cards, etc... - quite a few options in deviantart, but the quality on redbubble is superb). All images sold on those sites go to charity - to our Pindrop Foundation to raise money For cochlear implants in New Zealand. We are reliant on govt funding here, no insurance company covers them, hence the reason for this.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Bron :)

K.L. said...

Thanks Robyn. Do you have an e-mail address you want to publish? My address is (at)

E-mail me and I'll send you my wish list. You are a very talented photographer.

Henry Kisor said...

Americans sound like goats and sheep? Well, maybe some of us do, but still, Robyn! You have hurt my feelings and they can be assuaged only with a couple of cases of New Zealand's best beer.