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If they made nerve induction headphone type devices that required surgery to use, would you do it?

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 

This is a hypothetical and feel free to ignore if it doesn't pique your interest.

 

 

We are rapidly approaching a turning point in biology and medicine where instead of creating prosthetics to overcome handicaps, we are beginning to interface directly with nerves to restore sight and hearing to people.

 

I think it's only a matter of time before they begin offering higher quality versions of these as elective surgeries for healthy people and I was wondering what the rest of the community thought of that.

 

Imagine a device that is implanted in your skull that interfaces directly with the auditory nerve, allowing you to hear music, or whatever you wanted, without the use of headphones and even if you had hearing damage or loss of use from old age?

 

Imagine never having to worry about hurting your hearing by listening to loud music. Imagine never losing access to higher frequencies as you get older because of age related hearing loss. You could listen to music discreetly and comfortably, while you swim, in class, while your wife is talking to you about that thing her friend did, while you bathe, while you sleep....

 

I would imagine the most practical application would be a short range wireless connection to the implant, like a small transmitter that could sit behind your ear, beaming information and power to the implant inside your head, and that transmitter would connect to your Ipod or whatever you wanted it to.

 

 

Then there are the truly profound uses. Our hearing range is limited by our physiology, not our neurons. What if they configured these devices to allow for the reception of ultrasonic and ultra low frequency sounds? Imagine being able to hear the world as a dog might, and expanding your senses beyond what is available naturally. What if there were textures, and sounds that are truly beautiful, if we only had the ears to hear them.

 

 

Then there are the practical benefits, no acoustic resonances, gaps, bumps, frequency ranges. You could have an absolutely flat frequency response since nothing is ever delivered mechanically. Gone would be sibilance and sparkle, grain, and coloration. And you would never have to worry about damaging your hearing.....Your normal ears of course would continue to function as nature designed. Turn the implant off and you get all of those problems back if you want them.

 

I think I would sell my house to have something like that. The thought of needing a hearing aid some day scares me.....it conjures images of Beethoven sawing the legs off his piano so it sat on the floor and kneeling there, pounding on the keys trying to feel the sound....


Edited by Kodhifi - 1/9/13 at 1:55pm
post #2 of 58

A nerve-tapping auditory signal induction system would work, but it would have terrible anemic bass if you think about it. An important part the mid~low bass we detect is in the form of physical vibration rather than actual sound. Otherwise yeah it would basically sound like a very controllable potentially eerily accurate and detailed CIEM without the sensation of CIEMs in your ears.

 

It would still sound different from full-sized headphones or speakers though, unless you design some complex music signal filter with crosstalk algorithms that simulate those.

post #3 of 58

This forum is going crazy. biggrin.gifpopcorn.gif

post #4 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmOgER View Post

This forum is going crazy. biggrin.gifpopcorn.gif

This

post #5 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

A nerve-tapping auditory signal induction system would work, but it would have terrible anemic bass if you think about it. An important part the mid~low bass we detect is in the form of physical vibration rather than actual sound. Otherwise yeah it would basically sound like a very controllable potentially eerily accurate and detailed CIEM without the sensation of CIEMs in your ears.

 

It would still sound different from full-sized headphones or speakers though, unless you design some complex music signal filter with crosstalk algorithms that simulate those.


But if we are talking about nerve induction, why not replicate that sensation as well? There are already non invasive prosthesis that can make a person feel they are moving or falling in one direction or another, purely through skin contact. Feeling vibrations wouldn't be that much of a stretch.

 

I'm sure it would introduce new problems of it's own as no technology is perfect, but just imagine what the future holds. We have been using electromagnetic acoustic speakers for a hundred years or more. Really if you consider early phonographs, using vibrations to echo out of a horn, much longer than that. All musical instruments today and musical devices still work on the same fundamental principle, acoustic vibrations travelling through air.

 

We are at the door to a new way of sensing the world. There are deaf people who are having surgery done that is very similar to this, right now. It's low fi, maybe enough to understand words, but it will only get better.....We are mapping the human nervous system and brain at a global level.....

post #6 of 58

I see where you are coming from, but part of how we hear is because of how we hear stuff around us, and due to ear shape etc.

If we could tap into what made us hear through our ears, we would have to produce technology, like Binaural techniques to trick our brains into thinking they came from our ears.

But because we are all different, and each of our ears are different shapes, etc, our brains have of course learned our own specific needs. If something could, our brains would have to do some kind of re-wiring to hear as we did before.

Then, you'd also miss stuff like feeling the sound, as that would need another part of the brain I'm guessing to be implemented.

post #7 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by musical-kage View Post

I see where you are coming from, but part of how we hear is because of how we hear stuff around us, and due to ear shape etc.

If we could tap into what made us hear through our ears, we would have to produce technology, like Binaural techniques to trick our brains into thinking they came from our ears.

But because we are all different, and each of our ears are different shapes, etc, our brains have of course learned our own specific needs. If something could, our brains would have to do some kind of re-wiring to hear as we did before.

Then, you'd also miss stuff like feeling the sound, as that would need another part of the brain I'm guessing to be implemented.


If you're saying the new way of hearing will be very different without HRTF and other cues our minds use for determining information from sound, then yes. Not without faking it ala binaural recording, dolby headphone etc.

 

But the flip side to that coin is without all that stuff in the way, we would be able to create new experiences, not physically possible at the moment. After surgery like this, provided they didn't botch it and mess up your cochlea and nerve path, your normal hearing would still work. The surgery would be akin to having the worlds most realistic headphones surgically implanted that will always sound good no matter how old you get or how bad your hearing gets.

 

 

 

But my original question remains, would you sell half your possessions to be able to have something like that? Beethoven started going deaf at 26........Music is an important part in the care and cleaning of my mental outlook and the thought of losing it from old age, or too many rock concerts scares the crap out of me. But the direction we are going with technologies like nerve induction, make me wonder if I sat around doing nothing but thinking of new uses for it, if I still wouldn't run out of new possibilities.

 

If reality is what we see and hear and taste and smell, then for the first time in human history we are approaching the "the world is what you make of it" paradigm shift.


Edited by Kodhifi - 1/9/13 at 3:39pm
post #8 of 58

I reckon I would give it a good thought. I'd probably be too scared though.

But like many new procedures, more and more people would partake in it, and it would slowly become more mainstream.

 

I have one other question for you.

You know if you imagine a song now, and you can hear it playing in your head? It never has the same impact as if you heard it on headphones/speakers, but you can still hear the song. You also have the ability to edit the track on the fly. I've always found this interesting.

If you are playing a song in your head, you are essentially creating it on the fly as you "think" you heard it in the recording.

 

Would this surgical implant basically do the same thing with the sound? It would be there, but you just wouldn't get the same impact?

 

Where in the brain do you hear music when you are just thinking of it rather than hearing it?

 

Also, isn't it a limitation in our ears, rather than our brains to not percieve more or less than 20hz to 20khz? Would a procedure like this allow us to hear sounds above and below this threshold, and make higher bitrate files actually listenable without special equipment, and make MP3's a problem?

Because if no physical vibrations were occuring, we would be able to hear a soft sound after a loud one, making low bitrate files at least very bad,


Edited by musical-kage - 1/9/13 at 3:57pm
post #9 of 58

As a biologist:

Nobody realize the capabilities of the human body and there aren't, and there won't be devices to improve what's already part of an astonishing machine. I must admit we are weak, but nothing will better than our own body. That's a joke. 

 

(Our hearing range is limited by our physiology, not our neurons.) Dear Lord, let me give you an example: our running speed is limited by physiology, and our brain is wired to understand those signals, not more.

post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by squallkiercosa View Post

As a biologist:

Nobody realize the capabilities of the human body and there aren't, and there won't be devices to improve what's already part of an astonishing machine. I must admit we are weak, but nothing will better than our own body. That's a joke. 

 

(Our hearing range is limited by our physiology, not our neurons.) Dear Lord, let me give you an example: our running speed is limited by physiology, and our brain is wired to understand those signals, not more.


Was that as a response to me? Physiology being what, our hearing pathways? So, if this could somehow be done, our hearing pathways wouldn't be the things holding us back.

That is what I said.

Why couldn't our brain learn to hear sounds above and below the threshold?

 

Give the blind eyes (as has been somewhat done), and they suddenly start to gain some kind of vision. The brain has to learn.


Edited by musical-kage - 1/9/13 at 4:19pm
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodhifi View Post


But if we are talking about nerve induction, why not replicate that sensation as well? There are already non invasive prosthesis that can make a person feel they are moving or falling in one direction or another, purely through skin contact. Feeling vibrations wouldn't be that much of a stretch.

 

I'm sure it would introduce new problems of it's own as no technology is perfect, but just imagine what the future holds. We have been using electromagnetic acoustic speakers for a hundred years or more. Really if you consider early phonographs, using vibrations to echo out of a horn, much longer than that. All musical instruments today and musical devices still work on the same fundamental principle, acoustic vibrations travelling through air.

 

We are at the door to a new way of sensing the world. There are deaf people who are having surgery done that is very similar to this, right now. It's low fi, maybe enough to understand words, but it will only get better.....We are mapping the human nervous system and brain at a global level.....

Because it is many magnitudes more complex to induce complex signals that simulate sensation of bass vibration than simple auditory nerve signal induction. To feel mechanical vibration many different types of neurons, at specific locations, are fired in different ways and strengths. I.e. It's not just the inner ear mechanisms, but also tissue neurons sensing minute tissue distortion pressures, etc etc. Why do you think you can feel vibrations down into your neck and chest even? There aren't any otolithic organs in those areas.

 

It's like comparing a pac-man simulation with a weather simulation.


Edited by jerg - 1/9/13 at 4:57pm
post #12 of 58

Our brain doesn't work in that way. It doesn't learn again. 

post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by squallkiercosa View Post

Our brain doesn't work in that way. It doesn't learn again. 


Tell that to patients that lose half their brain or have an issue, and have to re-learn how to walk etc, and some actually manage to, and perform pretty normally.

post #14 of 58

Its different in those cases,

If at some point there's brain damage and nerves are intact, another part of the brain could assume the "responsibility" of the damaged region. Signals from your legs will keep stimulating your brain, and slowly some people develop movement.

 

Keep in mind that damage brain will never fully recover or even partially.

post #15 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by musical-kage View Post

I reckon I would give it a good thought. I'd probably be too scared though.

But like many new procedures, more and more people would partake in it, and it would slowly become more mainstream.

 

I have one other question for you.

You know if you imagine a song now, and you can hear it playing in your head? It never has the same impact as if you heard it on headphones/speakers, but you can still hear the song. You also have the ability to edit the track on the fly. I've always found this interesting.

If you are playing a song in your head, you are essentially creating it on the fly as you "think" you heard it in the recording.

 

Would this surgical implant basically do the same thing with the sound? It would be there, but you just wouldn't get the same impact?

 

Where in the brain do you hear music when you are just thinking of it rather than hearing it?

 

Also, isn't it a limitation in our ears, rather than our brains to not percieve more or less than 20hz to 20khz? Would a procedure like this allow us to hear sounds above and below this threshold, and make higher bitrate files actually listenable without special equipment, and make MP3's a problem?

Because if no physical vibrations were occuring, we would be able to hear a soft sound after a loud one, making low bitrate files at least very bad,


Absolutely we would be able to hear beyond 20-20khz. One of the things I mentioned was the ability to hear ultrasonic or even ultra low frequency. There may be entire new qualities to everyday sounds that are just lost on us do to our limited range of hearing and it only gets worse as we age.

 

About songs in your head, I don't know what's 'normal' but if I am not listening to music, I am playing it in my brain. This isn't always a good thing as my brain will latch on to a section of a song and play it over and over until I feed it real music to get it off it. People call them earwiggs and they are annoying. For instance I spent the last week having "I don't know if they fags or what, search a nigga down, and grabbing his nuts" going through my head every time I'm relaxing. I haven't even listened to NWA in months.....

 

I think if we 'heard' by nerve induction it would be like we are really hearing it, not like we are remembering or imagining it. There are things your mind can do to a song that I don't think any real song could do at least hearing it with ears. The Cure song "A Forest" is a wonderfully moody song but in my head it takes on a reverberence and reverence that I imagine it belting out in a cave with infinite reverb yet it doesn't drown out the song or get annoying, it's more like a subtle power to it like echos in a stalactite covered cavern and I see images when I hear the song. But listening to the actual song, it's never as good.

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