RUSH: Back to Tampa, Florida, Mike, welcome to the EIB Network and Open Line Friday on Thursday, hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. You are the basis of my sanity and you are my hero.
RUSH: Well, thank you, sir.
CALLER: My question for you is, I know that with your hearing problem, you cannot hear new music, but you tend to gravitate to the old music that you heard, I guess, prior to the hearing loss. My question is, how do you handle the parodies? Can you hear them well, or is it difficult?
RUSH: Most of the parodies are put to tunes that I know and that I was able to hear before I lost my hearing. But there’s always a transcript for them as they get produced, suggested, pooled together the writing resources here of these things, and my memory supplies the melody. I really don’t have any problem with the parodies. Now, in the rare event that there is a parody put together with a tune that I am not familiar with, I rely on trusted staff to tell me whether or not it’s any good.
CALLER: (Laughing.) That’s funny. Because I guess it’s just gibberish?
RUSH: Well, the music is gibberish, because I can’t detect pitch. Every note sounds the same, so if I haven’t heard it my memory can’t supply the melody.
RUSH: Like soundtracks to movies. I’ve just adapted to it. It’s an utter distraction, especially if the dialogue is very low, so I have closed-captioning on. I do my best to tune it out. Some soundtracks use a lot of strings. It sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, but I can tell when it’s a piano. I hear percussion. I hear bass lines fine and dandy.
RUSH: But once you get into higher frequencies like piano notes, I can tell it’s a piano but I couldn’t tell you what melody if I’ve never heard it before.
CALLER: Do you hear the voices as they’re presented?
RUSH: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well, within a range of recognizability. Everybody sounds to me today the way they did before I lost my hearing. Now, on the phone here, every female voice sounds identical. I cannot distinguish them. It’s just a circumstance of the quality on a phone line. Male voices are more distinguishable to me than female, but most females sound identical in ways that would make it hard for me to distinguish one from another.
CALLER: Now, how about in person?
RUSH: Not in person. It’s not in person. It’s not the case in person.
CALLER: How about on television?
RUSH: Television, really I rely on closed-captioning for most of what I watch on television or anything that’s on video, because that’s the only way I’m going to get every word spoken, particularly in subtle, low-spoken scenes, a lot of music or sound effects going on. A conglomeration of sound just all sounds just like one jumble, and it’s difficult. But there are ways around it. It’s not hard, believe me. It is not hard, and I’ve totally adapted to it. I don’t even think of it as a problem. I can’t tell you the last time I sat down and said, ‘Gee, I wish I had my hearing.’ It’s when I wish I could hear some music as I did. Other than that it happens so infrequently it’s something I don’t even think about. It’s just what it is. I’m fortunate. A lot of people that have cochlear implants don’t do as well as I’ve done and they don’t know why that is. Science is not far enough along to be able to explain or even predict who’s going to do better than others. There are a couple factors that they can get a general idea from but they can’t predict it at all. But I’m really lucky. My comprehension is about 80% of speech when they do their tests. Most people are in the fifties and sixties. I was able to use the phone the first day they activated mine. Some people can’t ever, because they can’t distinguish words on the phone. Some people it takes three or four months before they’re able to, so I’ve been really lucky with mine.