Deaf people being able to hear via a neurophone

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  • #1
I read something about deaf people being able to hear via a neurophone, a device that uses an electric field (electromagnetic?) that enables the deaf subject to hear inside their head. This would be very easy to prove to a point if it works or not. Was wondering if anybody knows of any experiments or research carried out by universities / hearing aid developers that have come to a definitive conclusion. There might be a similar thread somewhere about trying to give Richard Dawkins a spiritual experience by placing his brain in strong electromagnetic fields?
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  • #2
The neurophone doesn't work by
EM fields but from electric fields
coming from electrodes with a
large area in direct contact with
the skin.

Last I heard, no one really knows
for certain how these electric
fields add up to allow "hearing
through the skin". It was invented
by a young man playing around with
a bizarre idea and he more or less
accidently succeded on the
first try.

I don't know if it is being, or
has been, formally studied by any
university. I don't know if it
will work on the deaf, either,
because I don't know how
it works in the hearing. Does it
depend on a person having funct-
ional ears, or does it work dir-
ectly on the part of the brain
that processes sound?

If the latter is the case then the
neurophone has enormous potential
as a "hearing aid" for people with
any degree of deafess that is
caused by problems in the ear
mechanism itself.

A very interesting device that de-
serves more attention in general.
  • #3
slightly off topic but i do have a point...

i read an article a little while ago about sctizophrenics. some hear voices in their heads. the 'voices' they hear are actually just their own thoughts, but because of some lack of some wall in the brain, they hear their thoughts as voices outside their mind. see how i thought of this... voices in people's minds? well anyways, i was thinking then whether the voice the people would hear would be distinctively inside their mind's in which case i wonder whether a person could recognize tone or like the 'sound' of a certain person's 'voice.' then also if it sounds like its outside their minds, like some of those skitzos, then it would kind of seem like a 'cure' for deafness. hmm...
  • #4

People who have auditory hallucin-
ations are not exactly confusing
their own thoughts with some ex-
ternally generated voice. The
voices they hear are never their
own. They are always specific
sounding. There is a guy who lives
here in my building who hears voices every day, most all the day
long. There are several different
"characters" that converse with
him, each with a different voice,
different personality, and dif-
ferent interests. One is a woman.

He trusts me enough to answer just
about any question I have about the voices and he's told me alot
about them. One time I asked if
I could talk to the woman. He
"asked" her, mentally, and told
me she said OK. "She" could hear
anything I said through his ears
but of course he had to tell me
what she was saying in response.

The conversation didnt amount to
much because this woman was ap-
parently so surprised and amazed
to be talking to anyone besides
this guy that she couldn't talk
about much else.

He said the voices do, indeed
seem to be located inside his
head, but he was sure they were
beamed in from the outside by tele
pathy. He believes they are people
not ghosts or spirits. He has no
idea where they are, or why most
people can't hear them.

I think if deaf people could hear
with the neurophone it would also
seem that the sounds were coming
from inside their heads. Any one
who had been deaf from birth
would probably not know the difference.

It does raise the question of how
they would know what direction
sounds were coming from. They
might not be able to tell, and
would still have to rely on sight
to check this out.
  • #5
the article i read, of which i was referencing was only talking about one specific kind of skitzophrenia. i didn't mean that all skitzophrenics heard voices outside their head, but that there is some people who's voices did seem to occur outside themselves. i'll see if i can find the article. would the voices people hear in their mind with the neurophone sound like the real person's voice? i'd assume though that they would be distinct as voices in a person's head and wouldn't be mistaken as one's own thought. that could lead to some real subliminal messaging problems.
  • #6

In addition to the guy who lives
here I also know two women very
well who hear voices. For one of
these women the voices are "inside" her head as well, but the other one described them as being
located somewhere out in the room.

The latter woman converses with
angels, and once in a while Jesus
himself.I asked her about "Jesus"
in detail and she said it is a
wonderful and powerfully affect-
ing male voice that seems to come
from one side only about a foot
away from her ear.

("Hearing voices" can happen any-
time a person becomes psychotic
for any reason. Sleep deprivation,
for instance, might make anyone
start to hear voices. A person
might also eat something they're
highly allergic to and not even
know it and end up havng a psychotic episode.)

I read about the neurophone quite
a while ago and don't have the article any more, but it seems the
only thing he ever played around
with was transmitting music
through the skin. If people were
able to "hear" music and know it
wasn't just their own mind playing
a tune over in their head, then
it makes sence to suppose that
another persons voice would be
easily recognized as another per-
son's voice, even if it seemed
to be located "inside" the head.
You wouldn't mistake it for your
own thoughts.

People who have auditory hallucin-
ations, as I pointed out, do not
believe they are their own thoughts, because they continue to
have their own thoughts as usual,
even while the other voices are
speaking to them.

Auditory hallucinations aren't a
malfunction of the thought process
per se. It is more a case of the
person's unconscious desires or,
more often fears, hacking directly
into the circuits of the brain
where hearing is controlled
and generating voices that either
say things the person really wants
to hear, or saying things they are
most afraid of hearing.

I see what you're saying: if the
neurophone sounded just like a person's own thoughts then some-
one else could literally "put
thoughts into their head". I don't
think it does, though. My impres-
sion is that another persons voice
sounds completely like another
persons voice.

  • #7
I guess the long and the short of it is, just get some born deaf people (no auditory nerves etc to rule out vibration?) who can write! transmit a random number or something then get them to write down what it was. Maybe its never been done before.

EDIT: I guess they would not have to even write get an intepreter of whatever language they use for communiction.
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  • #8
Ah, but you're forgetting something aren't you?

You ought to google neurophone
up and see if anyone's done any
recent work with it, trying it
out with the deaf.
  • #9
I have not found anybody who has carried out recent research, apparently tufts university did some research with positive results but thats as far as I have got. I am not taking patrick flannelcan's word for it or any other individuals/private organisation either.
  • #10
EDIT: jesus how embarrassing...
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