Sunday, December 20, 2009

Music & Me

I'll admit music has never been a huge part of my life. I don't think I am unique in that amongst people with hearing impairments. I enjoy music but I don't have it constantly playing. I am as comfortable in a silent room as I am with music going and typically I just tune the music out anyway. Since getting my Streamer, though, I've found I can enjoy music a little more.

Before, I always had to worry about either annoying people with my music or overly loud music. I had to worry about wearing uncomfortably huge headphones that would fit over my aids - on top of being huge and heavy they needed to sit back slightly from the usual position so that the sound would be over the hearing aid. Forget about telling the differences in sound quality or picking out individual instruments in a performance. Psh. About the only time music was really enjoyable was alone in the car when I could have the volume at a comfortable setting for me and just listen.

The Streamer allows me to hear the music directly in my hearing aids. I can have it up pretty darn loud, louder than I'm comfortable with, before anyone else can hear anything. I don't have to wear headphones at all because my hearing aids become my headphones. It reminds me of a time I was with family years ago and the topic of my aids came up. Someone - can't remember who - started going on about all of the things that my hearing aids should be able to do besides amplify sound. They should be able to transmit my thoughts! Capture radio signals! Play a soundtrack in my head all day long. Well, now they can do at least the last part. I expect thought transmissions to come along any day now.

So far I have used my Streamer in the car and on the computer. Using it with the computer is super simple. I have two options: I can either plug it into a headphone jack on the computer or speakers, or I can use the little Bluetooth dongle I bought and connect to the PC wirelessly. I have that set up in Ubuntu but not yet in Windows, mainly because I never boot into Windows on my computer and have little use for it right now. Once it's plugged in I just tell it "hey, I'm ready to listen to some music" by pressing the little silver button on my Streamer and any sound the computer emits is sent through the Streamer to my aids. I use it to watch Youtube all the time - all those annoying music videos and stuff other people in the room would rather not be subjected to. I also use it with Hulu to watch Glee and other stuff.

In the car I usually connect the Streamer to my cellphone. I put the SD card that has all of my music in the phone, turn the Bluetooth on, and then tell the phone to play. I've tried it both as a passenger, and driving. As a passenger is interesting. Since with the Streamer you can hear both the music and anything else around you, listening to your own music and hearing the radio going for the driver is pretty... well, weird, actually. Especially since the driver has no idea what's going on. I guess you could come up with your own mashups to amuse yourself that way.

Driving is also interesting endeavor. Of course you should never be distracted while driving. But the Streamer allows you to hear surrounding sounds just as well as the music, so it's basically like listening to the radio. (I've had some comments on my blog that other people using the Streamer can't hear any outside sounds when they have it going. I don't know if this is a setting or something else, but I'm able to hear outside sounds and music equally well.)

The difference is the sound is right there with the Streamer and diffused around the car with the radio. And if the Streamer turns off or something like that, there will be a few seconds where your hearing aids reset themselves - a few seconds of silence on the road, which can be dangerous. I don't typically use the Streamer while driving myself.

Yesterday I used the Streamer at work as headphones to listen to, which is a customized online radio station. I forgot the Bluetooth dongle at home, and anyway I don't know how to set it up in Windows, so I tethered myself to the computer with the Streamer's cable and listened that way. I've actually never listened to music at work before. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it. Since music has hardly ever been a big deal to me, I wasn't expecting to like it so much, but it's awesome.

I really need to remember to bring the Streamer with me! It's great to have around.


  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. In October you mentioned you were on the Demo Streamer then later you got the dedicated streamer. How much did switching to the dedicated reduce some of the early issues you had?


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