In an effort to make world an easier place for deaf and help them, scientists have made a device that might allow the deaf to ‘hear through their fingertips’.
An international team of researchers have created a new device, known as a ‘Vibrating Auditory Stimulator’, which could help people with hearing disability by buzzing two of their fingers.
The team started with 12 test subjects, aged an average of 29 years old, though none of them had any reported hearing problems. They were tasked with listening to 25 groups of 10 short, simple sentences, all of which were spoken in English in make voice. Also, distracting, background-conversation-like noise was added to the audio, detailed New Atlas.
When the test subjects listened to the recordings, they found it difficult to understand. However, their understanding was improved greatly when they listened while also holding their index and middle fingers against the Vibrating Auditory Stimulator.
The inexpensive device converted low-frequency speech audio signals into vibrations. The team believes that it helped the volunteers by letting them use two of their senses – hearing and touch – to interpret what was being said. It produced a 6-decibel improvement in perceived loudness.
“The ability to ‘hear through one’s fingers’ can significantly help hearing,” said co-author Tomasz Wolak. “Our approach suggests that multisensory stimulations providing the same type of information (in this case spoken language conveyed through touch in addition to hearing) should be processed in the same brain region (in this case spoken language centers), ultimately then predicting that multisensory stimulations (both sounds and touch) should enhance perception.”
For now, the team is working on improving the technology further with the ultimate goal of reaching the 10db improvement mark, as per the study published in the journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.