Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day 2 in Oklahoma City

Day 2 was a fun and interesting day. Jennifer and I took our time getting up in the morning until Joyce came knocking on our door. She had Mike Royer with her and wanted him to meet us. I still had rollers in my hair and wasn’t dressed yet. I did meet him later in the Advanced Bionics booth and he is so funny! He accused me of having “contraband” in the Advanced Bionics booth when he found out that my implants were Cochlear and not Advanced Bionics. He is from Ohio like me and has family around the Columbus area so it is quite possible that we are related somehow. Jennifer, Joyce, & I had our pictures taken with him. Then we went downtown to walk around a little bit and see the sights. We shopped in a jewelry/souvenir store and I purchased two necklaces made by the owner’s mother, who is a Native Navajo Indian. Also got a flute CD and an Oklahoma magnet for the refrigerator. There is a river/canal that runs through the downtown area and it is so pretty. There are also buffalo statues everywhere!

I left Jennifer and Joyce downtown and went to sit on a panel at the Sheraton Hotel that I was invited to participate in. There were only three other gals there but it was extremely informative and interesting. Cochlear wanted some feedback from current cochlear implant users for the next generation cochlear implant that they are developing. DeeDee shared some features that they were working on and said that our feedback would be very valuable to their engineers. We were being filmed as we shared our backgrounds, how well we were doing, how long we had had our CI’s, what we liked and didn’t like about them, etc. One thing that Cochlear is working on is a wireless remote for cochlear implant users and DeeDee, our moderator, shared a PowerPoint presentation. She asked us what we like and didn’t like about the wireless remote, what we would change, what we would give up on our processors to make them smaller, and so on. I felt honored and privileged to be on this panel and hope I can do something this again. (Brad, I thought about you and wished you had been with me – you would have loved this!) One of the gals on the panel was Donna B. and I had met her online last year. We’ve traded emails but had never met in person before. We both were thrilled to finally have an opportunity to meet face to face! :-D

Cochlear had a booth at the convention and it was very nice and informative. They also had massage therapists on hand to give mini-massages. Believe me, I took advantage of that! My shoulders are very tight and sore – probably from traveling on the plane and carrying my purse and bags, etc. Cochlear’s booth also had a TV set up with a loop system. I was able to switch my processors on telecoil and could hear the TV directly in my ears with no interference. Steve wants me to find out how we can get a loop system for our family room so I can enjoy watching TV with him and the family.

While walking about the convention we met so many nice people. Jennifer and I met Dr. Norm, who is a retired chiropractor and Susan G., a sweet gal from Nashville, TN. Also, a lady by the name of Barbara came up to me and told me that she loved the shawl that I was wearing. I knitted this shawl two years ago and wear it everywhere to keep me warm in air-conditioned places. She caught me by surprise when she asked me if I would consider making one for her. I’ve never knitted something on commission before and had to think about that for a minute. I asked her what color she wanted and she said “black.” It just so happens that I am almost finished making a black one and have it with me. I told her how much the material cost and agreed to sell it to her. I can always make another one for me when I get home.

I also went to a seminar about how the deaf and hard of hearing can find the right cell phone for them. There were several representatives from the different phone companies on the panel and it was more of a sales pitch than anything. But, I learned that hearing aids and cochlear implants have an “M” rating. Cell phones also have an “M” rating. The ideal “M” combination for being able to hear on the phone with telecoils is between 6 and 8. So, if a hearing aid has an M2 rating and a cell phone has an M3 rating – those numbers equal M5, which indicates that the hearing aid and cell phone would not work well together. But, if the hearing aid or CI had an M3 or M4 rating and a person had a cell phone with an M3 or M4 rating – that would indicate the perfect combination. In all the years that I’ve worn a hearing aid, I’ve never known about M ratings or what my hearing aid ratings were. I also visited the telephone booths and like the Blackberries and Treo phones. All cell phone have a 30-day return policy, which means we can try out a phone and return it if it doesn’t work for us. Cell phone companies are aware of the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing and it is nice to know that they will work with people like us.
Later, Jennifer, Norm, Susan and I went out to dinner at Abuelo’s and it was fun. Norm and Susan had come to the convention alone so we invited them to join us. After dinner we walked around downtown and then went to the movie theatre to watch Evan Almighty. This was the first day of the movie and we had free tickets from the convention. The movie was close captioned and was so funny! For the first time, I could REALLY enjoy watching a movie at the theatre. We also received coupons for free popcorn and drinks. It can’t get any better than this! We walked to a coffee shop afterwards and then went back to the hotel to talk some more at the hotel lounge. Susan wears hearing aids and is very interested in cochlear implants and whether one would work for her. We talked until after midnight and then Jennifer and I went back to our room – we were both tired after a long day of walking around.


Drew's Mom said...

I am so interested in the research panel you sat on for Cochlear! You have to share more when you have a chance. I am so interested about wireless - does that mean that there are no cables going between processor and coil? Or, is there no coil and it transmits to the interal piece wirelessly? Did they give a time frame?

Also, did you see anything on a water proof processor? I hope they come out with that soon.

Enough questions...I'm glad you had a fun trip!

Laurie said...

Hello Drew's Mom!

The panel involved a wireless remote for CI users and/or their parents. Nothing was said about no cord going from the processor to the magnet but that would probably be something for the future. I would love a wireless remote for my CI's because then I would be able to check the status of my processor, battery life, settings, etc. without having to take it off to look at the LED screen.

The Freedom is water resistant but not waterproof. I made a comment that I liked my toggle switch on my hearing aid and would like to have it on my processor to make it easy to change programs. Our moderator said that toggle switches cannot be made water resistant or waterproof, which is why the Freedom has buttons instead of toggle switches.

The trip was awesome. You and your family need to consider going to a convention sometime. They are very informative with workshops, programs, and everything is catered to the deaf and hard of hearing so they don't miss anything.

The next convention is in Reno, Nevada. I plan to be there!

Drew's Mom said...

Thanks for the info...

When is Reno? I love that area. I could see a little family vacation out there.

Laurie said...

Drew's Mom,

The next convention will be around the same time in June next year. You can get more information at

I'd love to email you personally. If you go to my profile and click email, I'll be able to talk with you privately if you like. Your email address will be kept private.

Take care!