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Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Can You Hear Through Your Mouth?

When there is a problem with hearing, the ears are the first thing people think about. Helping people who cannot hear or who have hearing impairment revolves around the ears. And that makes sense, because the ears are how people hear. There is, however, and interesting twist on the restoration of hearing, one that involves your mouth and tongue.

According to an article on Science Alert, "Researchers from the US have developed an electric mouthpiece that can transmit sounds to people with hearing impairments through vibrations on their tongues."

This exciting, and somewhat disturbing research, has shown that regions of the brain that intercept signals in the mouth can be trained to understand these signals as sound. So how does the tongue get these signals? Well, a Bluetooth enabled earpiece sends them to a device that would be similar to a retainer. In order for the listener to understand these signals, they would need to push their tongue up against the retainer. The part of the brain receiving these signals could be trained to understand them as speech. The benefit of this device over hearing aids or a Cochlear implant is that it doesn't require the auditory nerve to be functioning. Therefore someone who is deaf would be able to learn to use this device to understand sound. Gives a whole new meaning to keep your mouth shut and listen.

The video below explains the concept by comparing it to braille.

This research is a long way from use, but it is fascinating to get a glimpse into what might one day help those who are deaf or someone with hearing loss to hear better. If you'd like information on how you can hear better today, click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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