Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CI Heart Rate Study

Today was the day to do my part in a CI study at ASU Tempe. The study, when it's finished, will have 2,000 participants. I was participant like, 1,500 something. So they're pretty close to finishing it in the coming months. The purpose of it is to monitor the heart rate to see if it increases when CI users attempt to distinguish speech in noise. The point of this study, I actually do not know. I mean, what if they find a confidence interval that 90% of the test subjects having an increased heart rate... then what? Would it prove that someone needs to have a currently well-functioning heart rate before they get a CI? No idea. Anyway...

When I arrived, the first thing done is signing some papers - that I will get paid said amount of money, and that I can just leave anytime I want. Apparently some people have had second thoughts about participating at the last minute. Silly people. What's to fear? The only expectation was that we'd be tired by the end of the test. And damn straight I was tired. If a 2 minute speech test for my audiologist can wipe me out, an hour long speech test is draining. Oddly though, that part wasn't even the worst part.

The test was a series of 6 tests.
  • Test 1: Speech in quiet. Easy peasy. Like, high 90% accuracy, easy.
  • Test 2: Speech in really loud noise. Horrible. Reminded me of why I can't understand my co-workers when everyone is conversing group style. I just can't do it. Too much going on. 
  • Test 3: Visual test without implant, in which I was to say the color or word on the screen. Easy. But it goes on for 5 minutes, and by minute 1, you feel like a zombie.
  • Test 4: Speech in mild noise. Wasn't too bad. Maybe 60% accuracy.
  • Test 5: Visual test without implant, in which I was to say the color of the word, while ignoring what the actual word says. Think, a word that says pink, but is the color orange. I was to say orange. This requires some serious left-right brain control. And it was the most draining part of the test because it requires a ridiculous amount of attention. 
  • Test 6: Speech in moderate noise.
That was the order I did them in, anyway. The point of the visual test, I'm assuming, was to see if the heart rate changes from a visually challenging experience compared to an audibly challenging experience. There was a 5 minute rest period in between each test to monitor my resting heart rate.

I could see the heart monitor off to the side most of the time, when I looked, and I really didn't see much fluctuations in my heart rate during the whole thing. If there were fluctuations, they're probably minor, or happened during times I wasn't paying attention (like during the visual test, since I had to look at my screen).

One thing I learned from this test: I hear a female voice better than a males voice now. Prior to the implant, male voices dominated because they were low pitch. But I found it a bigger struggle to understand a male voice in noise, than a females. I also learned, that if I'm ever asked to do a visual test like that again, I might punch someone. But getting how much $$ I did for this study, made it all, pretty worth it.

Also, the test as a whole, felt like one of those affirmation tapes that people listen to and repeat until they've got the speeches brainwashed into their skull. Repeating a bunch of a random sentences for a total of 30 minutes, really made me feel like I was psychotic for a while, and had "I" talking to "me" and "me" talking to "myself." Get it? Obviously you need to re-watch Me, Myself, and Irene.

With that said, I think they still need more participants for a few studies. If anyone is interested in finding out if you are a candidate, contact me somehow and I'll send you the contact email. They'll reimburse the traveling costs and pay you a small sum for participating, per hour (it takes 2 hours).

Otherwise, I hope I get to do another study someday. It wasn't so bad. Makes you feel like you participated in something that could potentially be important.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    My name is John and I have a quick question about your blog! Could you please email me?

    Thank you,



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