Friday, April 14, 2006

Pimp my Cochlear Implant

Every time I have to fly on a plane or take public transportation, I think to myself, man those deaf people really have it made. How great would it be to just have perfect silence even while surrounded by a bunch of idiots yakking to each other and their cellphones?

But, for some reason, some of these deaf people are trying to regain their hearing with cochlear implants. It is a bionic ear, that works by directly stimulating any functioning auditory nerves inside the cochlea with electrical impulses. The quality does not currently match that of a normal ear, but give it 10-20 years and I bet it will get close or hopefully even better.

So, just like the bionic eye, this got me to thinking of what functionality I would want for a bionic ear, how to make it better than normal hearing, how to, well, pimp it out.

First, as mentioned above, the ability to have silence at any point is fantastic. Think Bose noise canceling headphones to the extreme. No more annoying cell phone ring tones, construction noise, or noisy apartment neighbors. When you are trying to fall asleep, you can have complete silence.

Second, since this is an electric device, you can switch the input to just listen to whatever you want. Imagine having it bluetooth enabled. You could have your iPod on your hip and listening just to your music with a direct wireless feed, no outside noise getting in. You could pump up the volume on your iPod as loud as you want and not annoy anyone. Hmm, I wonder is it even possible to go deaf if you play it too loud when you have a cochlear implant?

Or you could have your cellphone hooked in. When the phone rings, the sound would just occur in your ear. No more annoying ring tones that everyone around you has to be subjected to. If you are getting a phone call, only you will hear it. Someone could be talking to you and no one else would even know it. It would be like one half of telepathy.

Third, you could have super hearing. You could have dog hearing, listening to ranges and frequencies that normal ears couldn't listen to. You could set it up to hone in on a whispering conversation on the other side of a room. You could have noise canceling software to cancel out the sounds you don't want to hear.

Silence whenever you want it, music as loud as you want it, listen to a cellphone without attaching anything to your ear, and listen to frequencies only dogs can hear. Who wouldn't want a cochlear implant?

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