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Medicine Science

New Hearing Aid Uses Your Tooth To Transmit Sound 93

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the new-blue-tooth dept.
kkleiner writes to share a new device from Sonitus Medical that transmits sound to the inner ear via the teeth and jawbone. Dubbed "SoundBite," the device captures sound using a microphone in the ear and transmits to an in-the-mouth device that in turn sends the sounds through the jaw. "There are other hearing aid devices that utilize bone conduction. Most, however, use a titanium pin drilled into the jaw bone (or skull) to transmit sound to the cochlea. SoundBite seems to be the first non-surgical, non-invasive, easily removable device. While they are likely years from retail production, Sonitus Medical plans on having SoundBite ITMs fitted to each individual's upper back teeth and fabricated fairly quickly (1 to 2 weeks). A complete system is planned to include two ITMs, 1 BTE, and a charger. In the wider world of cochlear implants, SoundBite may only be fit for relatively specialized use. Still, the ability to easily upgrade or replace individual components makes the device competitive. A similar device could be adapted to provide audio for a personalized augmented reality system. Perhaps the Bluetooth headset of the future will involve actual teeth."
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New Hearing Aid Uses Your Tooth To Transmit Sound

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  • Re:Ouch! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcspoo (933106) on Monday February 01, 2010 @05:32PM (#30987380) Homepage
    As a deaf person, I can tell you that the sound of a drill in my tooth is one of the few sounds I can hear exactly as well as you can, so this is probably a pretty decent idea.
  • Re:Ouch! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by value_added (719364) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:11PM (#30989608)

    As a deaf person, I can tell you that the sound of a drill in my tooth is one of the few sounds I can hear exactly as well as you can, so this is probably a pretty decent idea.

    No doubt you experience or otherwise sense something that's noticeable to you, but I doubt it's the same. Once upon a time I spent a period of about 2 years getting dental work done. Everything from ordinary fillings and cleanings, to root canals and surgery. Sounds like a bad horror movie? Not at all. My dentist ran a small office in Beverly Hills and offered, provided, or otherwise insisted on the following:

    1. As soon as you sit down, you're asked to pick your favourite music (if you haven't brought any with you), and you get handed a full-sized set of head phones.

    2. A few minutes later (during which you hope the attractive assistant accidentally rubs herself against your arm more than once), a small rubber attachment is placed on your nose, and the gas is turned on, and left on.

    3. Later still (if you're there for anything but a simple cleaning), you get a topical application of novocaine. You don't care, and barely notice when a few minutes pass and a few injections directly to your gums are made.

    Now you've been sitting in that chair about 20 minutes. You sensory inputs have been muted one by one and you're enjoying a high. At this point, there's no way anyone in that chair will notice, sense, or care about anything but the groove of the music coming out of the head phones. Am I exaggerating? Let's put it this way -- by the end of the 3rd or 4th appointment, I was looking forward to my visits, and hoped each one would last a long time.

    If you hear, smell, see, or otherwise feel anything, I'd suggest a different dentist.

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