One Friday night, at my old house in Baltimore, my friend Chris brought in a stack of vinyls from his collection. We went to the other room and Chris placed one of his records on my roommate’s turntable. Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen started playing and my feelings for music have never been the same since then. The crisp sound of the piano and the Boss’ vocals in analog format allowed me to appreciate the music in a new way. While the digital streaming format is convenient, I am only hearing one layer of all the elements being composed into a song. I had listened to vinyls before receiving the Cochlear implant (CI) but the difference never stuck out to me. After the CI, I was not only able to distinguish the difference between vinyl and digital format but also my brain is able to process the pure analog sound that is carried out from a vinyl format.
The Record Rituals
A few months ago, I purchased my own turntable and began collecting vinyl of my own. I started with my dad’s old collection and bought more records over time. Let me tell you something, after only a few months, the vinyl addiction is real. I would search the internet to find and buy new albums of my favorite bands or even add them to my Amazon wish list. After experiencing a favorite album on vinyl, I would want to listen to that same album again from the beginning. Sometimes, I make my families and friends sit with me with these vinyls instead of watching TV or a movie. It began to become a whole ritual for me: pulling out the record, scanning it for dusts and scratches, gently putting it on the turntable and letting the needle thread through the grooves. We would pass around the album cover, compiled with photographs, lyrics and other materials about the artist. Before you know it, the side is over and it’d be time to get up and flip it over. The whole routine becomes an intentional way of appreciating music. The Cochlear helps me connect to the very melody that draws me into embracing the routine.
Cochlear Through The Vines
In a way, the Cochlear is similar to vinyl records where they are able to deliver multiple layers of sound to the ear. With the electrodes that make up the implant inside the cochlea, the CI allows me to absorb a wider spectrum of sound.
These electrodes can be compared to the grooves on a vinyl record. They both go round and round toward the center of their respective property until they reach the center. They both go up and down sound waves and carries a complex property of sound. These similarities between the vinyl and CI brings me a sense of synchronicity with music. The CI brings me joy through living the life that vinyls offer, hearing sounds that you can’t hear in other formats.
Climbing The Cochlear Ladder
Small update on the logistical front: Maegan (my audiologist) advised me to keep turning up the sensitivity and the volume. My ear was hurting for the first time since activation day for a couple of weeks but I can hear so much better. I will be going in soon for another remap of the Cochlear, so more updates to come!