Woman loses hearing in one ear, makes DIY device to compensate

Amelia Marzec

When a tumor stole hearing from one of Amelia Marzec's ears, the Brooklyn-based artist responded by creating Re-wired. Described as a "wearable device that translates ambient sound into haptic feedback using bone conduction technology," Amelia designed Re-wired after she decided against the idea of drilling a screw into her skull and attaching a receiver to it.

The idea for Re-wired apparently struck while Amelia was acclimating to having only one ear. "At first my auditory perception seemed flat, but soon I began to notice that I was experiencing sound through a combination of tympanic hearing and vibrational resonance," She explained on her website. "One day as I sat down at the piano, I suddenly became aware that the entire instrument felt alive in my hands, each note traveling up my arms and giving a surprisingly rich experience of sound."

Amelia then went on to re-purpose a helmet and fill it with small, sensitive microphones, signal amplifiers, vibration components and effects circuits in a clever adaptation of bone conduction technology, a technology that has been utilized by more than one hearing aid in the past.

Amelia's ingenious response to her medical condition is a little too awesome not to spotlight. If you're curious about the full details of her project, check them out over on her personal site.

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