A critical review of Clear Voice™ – and other things

First of all, let me introduce Advanced Bionics Clear Voice™. Then I want you all to know that I have tried and used this software product less than a week. And I absolutely love it 🙂

But; it is not perfect. It is designed to do it’s job in noisy surroundings, to help bringing out human voices, and that is one complex mammoth task! In order to be perfect, it would need to have a conscious intelligence, and that is as far as I know, still science fiction. I know next to nothing about the workings of this piece of software, so I will end this paragraph with a question: Does anyone have information as to the programming language and the algorithms used? Is fuzzy logic part of this software development?

noise_cancelling_phones I notice its imperfection in the absence of heavy noise. It takes away some information in speech which actually makes it harder for me to comprehend and grasp sentences. It kind of lies in the nature of the program; it is designed to remove some sounds, in which most of it is useless to the implantee. It depends on the nature of the noise. But of course, some of the frequencies the noise consists of, also is in the speech frequency range. Thus the software has no “choice” but to reduce some of the speech sounds too.

Clear Voice will occupy one of the program slots (Harmony only has 3), but since I so far only had use for 2 programs, it’s more than welcome 🙂 I often switch program, and then forget about it. That is also my problem with Clear Voice; in normal private surroundings, the voices become somewhat garbled and harder to understand. It takes me a little bit of time to remember to switch back to my primary program without Clear Voice to get back to “normal”. This is my own problem, in reagrds to switching the program and remembering to do so, but it’s still an inconvenience.

In real noisy environments, this application has already become essential to me, nothing less. I can listen better and speak more freely while driving the car, it’s easier to have a conversation on the phone while in the shop, out on the street or in other crowded public places. It takes away A LOT of the effort I previously needed to put into understanding speech in noisy surroundings!

It is my hope that this piece of software will save me from fatigue and help me heal more and better/faster in terms of prolonged exhaustion.

Clear Voice does not cure my tinnitus. 🙂 It’s funny when I think about it, but some of the noise I hear, also in noisy surroundings, is actually my own tinnitus… Clear Voice will, I believe, in the time to come, help me understand better the effect my tinnitus has on me in various sound surroundings. I have a theory that the tinnitus worsens in noisy situations, because noisy situations induces stress (why wouldn’t it?) But since the CI is a powerful nerve stimulator, it “drowns” or masks the tinnitus to the extent that the brain doesn’t notice it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone… That depends on the origin of the tinnitus; does it emerge from the brain, or from the other parts of the nervous system?

I will use Clear Voice every day, and I will probably become better at remembering to switch the program on and off, as I grow to get used to it. Definitely a recommended piece of software for anybodys Advanced Bionics CI.

End of review, and over to the other things:

I a currently in the process of establishing a new place of residence. It was a worn down flat, which my girlfriend and I bought relatively cheap, and are now well underway in renovating. We’ve ripped the place apart, short of the walls and ceiling. Everything else is new. New coat of paint in ceiling and on walls (on top of new glass fibred wall paper), new wooden floor, new doors, new kitchen, and to top it off, we hired a bathroom renovator specialist to take care of the bathroom and WC.

In the midst of this, we have been moving all of my girlfriends stuff, and are still working on my stuff. So now you know why it has been silent on this blog for some time 🙂

Posted in deaf. 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “A critical review of Clear Voice™ – and other things”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    I am SO ENVIOUS!!! We are still waiting for ClearVoice here in the USA…thanks to the FDA, we may be waiting for a while 🙂 I have a hard time feeling too sorry for myself, though, when I remember how long it took for you to be implanted in the first place. I can wait a little longer for this program! 🙂
    Sounds like you have stayed quite busy! Love the update 🙂

  2. Ben Leigh Says:

    Hi Ulf

    your blog is a goldmine of information Once Im upgraded I’ll share my views on clearvoice

  3. Deaf Village Says:

    […] and it’s effect, regarding my tinnitus (reference to earlier blog posts relating to this matter: No cure for tinnitus, Life gets easier, Difference btw recruitment and tinnitus, Tinnitus cognitive therapy) I was open […]

  4. Sandy Bloom Says:

    We have just been informed this is now in the USA. I am going to contact my audiologist tomorrow first thing since this blog got me more excited than I already was after reading everything I received in the mail today from advanced bionics. Thank you for taking the time to put your experience out there.

  5. ole haugland Says:

    My son was born deaf. He is 22 months old and has a AB CI on each side. For one of the programming slots we recently added Clear Voice. Would you recommend leaving it on at all times for such a young child or would you, based on your experience, suggest only activating the Clear Voice program in an environment such as a long car drive? He spends most of his time during the day at daycare, which can be noisy, but I’m a little concerned since you said it drops some speech information. Thanks for a great blog.

    • Ulf Says:

      Hi Ole,
      It’s a difficult question to answer, because all CI recipients are different! My history is unique, as well as your sons hearing history is unique. Whats good for me might not be good for your son. Having said that:

      My experience is that the brain adapts to pretty much anything. Our normal hearing organs are infititely more advanced than the AB CI. For instance normal hearing people have an automated “too loud noise” protection, which is in fact the smallest muscle in the human body.
      CI is a crude copy of a biological (hearing) mechanism that has developed for a very long time.
      My experience is that CV takes away the strain from sources of useless noise, such as kitchen fans, various (constant) humming noises, traffic noise (if it is constant enough).
      The three setting are low, medium and high. I tried the high first, and it was too strong, ie it took away too much sound that I wanted to hear. I ended up on medium on my first ear, and on my new fresh ear, I chose the low CV setting.
      I think that you can’t go wrong with the low setting, since it is almost undetetectable (the user gets 1.6 seconds normal sound after turning the CI on, before CV kick in, thats how u know how it is with or without CV.)
      The medium setting will be helping your son in understanding speech in surroundings where kitchen fans etc is running. At the same time, CV on medium is slightly altering voices, it’s just a feeling I have, and not a scientific one. Either way, your son will adapt to whatever you choose for him… I have different programs, one without CV for music, maybe that is one way to go for you, in order to try it out and let him signal back how it is?
      Good luck!

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