While I’m at work I listen to some pretty weird “music.” A lot of the work I do involves writing, and thinking in words, and I find that music with any kind of lyrics is really distracting, so that cuts out quite a bit, and I find myself searching for ever more esoteric sounds to keep my ears amused while I’m working. I was excited when I got my latest copy of The Wire, as this month it’s all about “creative broadcasting”, or radio art. There are lots of interesting tidbits available online at The Wire, including their blog, amusingly called “The Mire.” The latest entry seems like it was made just for me, and is called Radio Art to Work By. It has a great list of mostly environmental sounds that you can either stream live or download to listen to later.
One great thing to listen to that they missed out on is this live stream of audio from a hydrophone UNDER THE ANTARCTIC ICE, which I’m sure I’ve gone on about before… It really is quite mind-blowing to think that while I’m sitting in an office in East Melbourne, I’m listing to sounds just a few seconds old, from under the ice cap in the Antarctic. Plus, they are nice sounds.
Anyway, all this talk about sounds got me wondering if there are any cochlear implant users out there who deliberately listen to “background noise,” either while they work, travel, or just for pleasure? If so, I’d be very interested to hear what kind of “noise” it is, and why you like it! In cochlear implant research, a lot of research over many years has been dedicated to developing ever more sophisticated ways of getting RID of background noise, and it’s true that it’s a serious problem, especially when trying to understand speech. But what about other situations, like sitting in silence at a computer trying to write, which I’m sure a lot of cochlear implant users do all day, just like me. Are there any “background noises” which are pleasant to listen to? Maybe some of the above environmental field recordings, recordings of VLF activity from the atmosphere, or sound art pieces that people have made would be just as enjoyable through a cochlear implant as for someone with natural hearing? After all, they generally don’t have much of a melody, pitch is not really important, and they often don’t really have any structure. I’m sure it wouldn’t sound the same, but maybe that doesn’t matter – maybe some of the gist of it will get across, and it will be just as enjoyable all the same?
Are there any sound artists or field-recorderists (phonologists?) out there who use a cochlear implant?