Audiology in Brief A sound installation in a Japanese art festival allows visitors to hear the sound of a silent inanimate object through bone conduction. Masaru Tabei and Yasuno Miyauchi put together the piece, “Ibuki,” to encourage visitors to rethink meanings of everyday objects. Ibuki, which means “lively breath/sign of presence” in ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   June 01, 2006
Audiology in Brief
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   June 01, 2006
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, June 2006, Vol. 11, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.11082006.5
The ASHA Leader, June 2006, Vol. 11, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.11082006.5
Bone Conduction Used in Art Exhibit
A sound installation in a Japanese art festival allows visitors to hear the sound of a silent inanimate object through bone conduction. Masaru Tabei and Yasuno Miyauchi put together the piece, “Ibuki,” to encourage visitors to rethink meanings of everyday objects.
Ibuki, which means “lively breath/sign of presence” in Japanese, is a large egg-shaped, wire-wrapped object. Visitors put their chins on top, which turns their jawbones into part of a communication channel, allowing the object to “tell” something about itself.
Bone-conduction technology has long been used in hearing aids and other products for people with hearing loss as well as in military headsets. Recently, several commercial companies have been developing consumer products using this technology. For example, a cell phone handset that lets users listen by pressing it against their jaws is for sale in Japan. Another device, “Yubiwa,” is a ring-shaped mobile phone handset that helps the user’s finger transmits sound into her ear.
Somalia Opens School for Children with Hearing Loss
The first and only school for students with hearing loss in Somalia has opened in the capital city of Mogadishu.
Usman Muhammad Mahamud, the school’s director, said he became aware of the need for such a school after watching his neighbors’ children who had hearing loss and had nowhere to go.
Mahamud, along with other Somalis from abroad, decided to open a school that catered to these children. The demand for a place at the school has been amazing, he said. Most of the children in the school would otherwise never have had the opportunity to go to school.
The students are now interacting with others through sign language. The school has a few students who have typical hearing and it is compulsory that they also learn sign language, Mahamud said. Even some adults are learning to sign.
However, as the number of students has increased, finding more teachers with appropriate training is a challenge. There already is a general shortage of teachers in Somalia because very few new teachers had entered the profession in the last 15 years.
Mahamud said that he fears economic hardship and a lack of government support will hinder the school’s progress. Mahamud has appealed for help to Somali well-wishers in the diaspora and the international community.
Eyeglasses with Microphones
Scientists from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands have developed eyeglasses with tiny embedded microphones on each side.
The glasses, called Varibel, dampen surrounding noise while selectively strengthening sounds coming from in front of the wearer. The device separates proffered sounds from the unwanted with twice the sensitivity of a traditional hearing aid, the manufacturer claims.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one in three people past the age of 60 have hearing loss. Traditional hearing aids intensify sounds from all directions, sometimes making it hard for a user to focus on normal conversation. But with Varibel, sounds are picked up primarily from the direction a user is looking.
“Practical experience with the hearing-glasses supports the theoretical claims that the ability to understand speech is much better,” said Cor Stengs, a researcher involved with the clinical tests of the product. “There is a significant improvement in the sound quality.”
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FROM THIS ISSUE
June 2006
Volume 11, Issue 8