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Deaf people being able to hear via a neurophone

  1. Aug 23, 2003 #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?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2003 #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.
  4. Aug 23, 2003 #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...
  5. Aug 24, 2003 #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.
  6. Aug 24, 2003 #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.
  7. Aug 25, 2003 #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.

  8. Aug 25, 2003 #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.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2003
  9. Aug 25, 2003 #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.
  10. Aug 26, 2003 #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.
  11. Sep 5, 2003 #10
    EDIT: jesus how embarrassing...
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2003
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