People with hearing loss miss important every day sounds like the doorbell, alarm clock, telephone or a running faucet. New technology now allows users to feel these sound signals, so they no longer have to miss out on important alerts.
This new device, called the Neosensory Buzz, works by converting soundwaves into dynamic vibrational patterns that help those who are hard of hearing access important auditory signals. This device, which is worn on the wrist and resembles a wristwatch or fitness tracker, mimics the cochlea in that it sends vibrations via the nervous system to the brain. In essence, it creates an alternative sensory channel to the brain’s auditory processing center.
About the Researchers
David Eagleman, Ph.D., a Stanford University neuroscientist, and Scott Novich, Ph.D., began researching sensory substitutions for the deaf community in 2013, just seven years ago. Their work produces technology that sends data streams to the brain via sense of touch, AKA haptic feedback.
“The brain is locked in a vault of silence and darkness inside your skull, yet it constructs this whole world for us,” Dr. Eagleman explains. “Your brain doesn’t know and it doesn’t care where it gets the data from. It is fundamentally always trying to get information across the senses. Whatever information comes in, it just figures out what to do with it.”
The Buzz device can be programmed to three different modes using your smartphone:
- Everyday mode: This mode adjusts to the wearer’s surroundings and cancels out unnecessary background noise.
- Music mode: This mode allows wearers feel the beat of the song as well as the nuances of the melody using pulses.
- Sleep mode: This mode filters out nighttime sounds like snoring while alerting the wearer to emergency sounds like smoke detectors and sirens.
There is also an alarm setting, where users can customize their desired vibrational pattern.
Neosensory has announced the launch of a new device in 2021 for people with high-frequency hearing loss using the same hardware but programmed with different algorithms. This technology will be able to capture contrasting high-frequency sounds that are difficult to discriminate and turn them into specific vibrations on targeted parts of the wrist.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a local audiological specialist, call Elk Grove Hearing Care today.