Friday, May 14, 2010

Landon's technology journey

Thanks to all for the kind words about Landon's iPhone application. I can tell you it was fun and frustrating experience to conceptualize and develop the application. I thought it would be neat to see how my little technologist has evolved along with his technology.

The first attempt was nothing more than a failure. Trying to get the bilaterals working with a Y connector into each ear, with you plugged into it with the parent microphone to see if there was sound was nothing less than a nightmare when working with a one year old. I was finally able to just get a normal YouTube video working to start teaching him about music, but was never able to get the equipment to work as I wanted. The first generation iPod presented its own set of challenges. The touch interface for a one year old was just too tempting. Also, I never felt I was giving him a real-world experience with that equipment. Here is our first major attempt at 1 1/2 years of age. Hot dog dance worked, but not well.
Based on the limitations of the CI's connectivity and the first generation iPod touch, I decided that the second attempt should be a web based, computer only approach. I developed The Sound Garden on the UseMyEars website. That work ok, but it was still not sufficient because a 2 year old does have problems with mouse manipulation. Yet another epic fail.

One day in Radio Shack, I go there or the Apple Store or Best Buy for lunch sometimes, I was looking at headphones when I ran across this handy gadget.

Ah finally, now we are getting somewhere, I was able to plug this into the generation 1 iPod and cut out all the wires for the CI. I access the UME website's Sound Garden and bamo, instant Ling 6 bliss. Except there was one more problem, you needed to have WiFi access for it to work. Another epic fail, but not so monumental.

Ok, so 9 months ago I was browsing the shelves of the Apple store and saw a book on Cocoa Touch. I knew about the SDK previously and attempted to write a few apps, but the iPhone was so new that documentation was sparse at best. Additionally, the growing pains for the App Store is well documented and I decided work on the app and not publish it for a while. Lots of reading, writing bad code, locking up my iPod touch, and running the program about a million times (you know the normal development process), I finally got a rock solid version of a highly mobile self-contained sound application; Ling 6 Sound App.

I am even more excited now that I see the iPod touch coming with internal speakers and the iPad version of the Ling 6 app is really nice for Landon. The sound on that device is superior to the iPhone and iPod touch. I hope that one day I can get him an iPad to keep up his "studies."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ling 6 App for the iPhone,iPod Touch,iPad

Eric wrote an application for working on the Ling 6 for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad~~~~and it has been approved by Apple and is now available for purchase in the iTunes store. WAY TO GO ERIC!!!! We were at a point where Landon was tired of doing the typical Ling 6 test in the morning so Eric came up with the idea to do an application so Landon thinks he's playing now and loves doing the test. We can also change the volume on it so we can test his hearing at different levels. He loves to just play with the application during the day saying the sounds~~it helps me by keeping him busy in the grocery store. He's starting to show more independence with his hearing - such as coming to us when the batteries die and helping to change them - so this app will allow him when he's a little older to test his implants himself to make sure they are working properly.

You can see it at the iTunes store here

He's already got ideas for several more applications he is going to write for these devices. His next application is going to be one for teaching the learning to listen sounds. He also wants to figure out how to write one that will quiz the user--for example have it ask "what makes the aahhh sound" and then they will have to pick out the correct picture from a few choices.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Landon has been doing great with his N5 processors. We just thought he talked a lot before---now he's never quiet. The only thing we can figure is he has to be hearing better with the new ears. Even his AVT made the comment he is more talkative during his therapy. They stay on a lot better too. He has started to get more independent with his hearing--asking for his ears in the morning and asking to keep them on later at night. He has also been wanting to help with changing the batteries in them. Today he came to me holding his left ear open--apparently the batteries had died so he pulled the cover off, threw the old batteries in the garbage, and came to ask me for some new batteries. I gave him the 2 batteries, he put them in the right way, put the cover back on and turned it on. We've been using the old mic loc tubing off the freedoms to hold it on so I had to put that back on but it was definitely a sign he is growing up and taking charge of his hearing.

We got an EOB on the processors from his insurance and got quite a shock---it said our portion was $25,000. Needless to say I sent a quick email to our case manager to check in to this. She replied back that it was processed incorrectly. The insurance company processed it as DME (durable medical equipment) which has a cap of $2,500. She said it should have been processed as prosthetics because that is what they consider his ears and there is no cap on that. So we will end up paying our deductible and then our max out of pocket for his upgrades--which is not bad considering insurance was billed almost $28,000-and this was after the trade-in allowance for his freedoms. He is definitely hearing better-talking more-and they are staying on better--so it's worth every penny.