I can’t hear you, I’m eating

The device is nearly invisible when worn.

Sometimes technology comes up with odd things that are way more useful than tools for hygienic espionage.  Case in point is the new SoundBite dental hearing system.

Bone conduction systems have been around for awhile now, and are effective at restoring hearing when there is damage to the auditory nerve of only one ear, but the other is working well. In such cases, conventional hearing aids are useless.  However, existing systems require an external device to be bolted on to the side of your head.

Okay, that probably is an overly dramatic description, but as someone who has complete loss of hearing on one side, when they explain they are going to attach something to your skull with a drill, that’s kind of how it sounds.  At least so far, that solution isn’t more appealing than suffering the loss of all spatial hearing ability.

However, this device requires no surgery or permanent attachment of any kind.  The receiver unit is molded to your teeth and just pops in when you use the device.  It wirelessly picks up signals transmitted by the small microphone clipped behind the decorative ear, and passes the sound into your jaw where it resonates into your head for the other ear to hear.

Apparently, with enough practice, a user can regain a good share of their spatial hearing.  It would certainly be nice to not have to spin around in circles looking for who’s talking any more, or have to turn my head ridiculously far around to hear a quiet comment from the person seated to my right.  Unless we’re eating I suppose.  Then the device would be in my pocket and I could still only hear half the table.  Then again, maybe I’d be so riveted by the conversations around me I’d eat less and listen more.  Yeah… probably not.

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