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Street Cred Enhanced Hearing-Aid
ONE OF THE PROBLEMS ABOUT DEAFNESS IS THAT PEOPLE MAKE SOCIAL ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT IT AND BEHAVE IN A PECULIAR MANNER//sorry about that. But seriously, people do have some very funny ideas about deafness. One of these ideas they have is that a "DEAF-AID" is something which confers on its wearer some kind of infirmity or senility. As a result, hearing aids are often disguised so as to be ultra-covert and secret.
But what if, instead, you were a bit "hard of seeing"? Well, you'd get some glasses which where tinted and then it would be Cool Shades! See, total street credibility! So, now let's apply that principle to the hearing...
The device I am talking about is something which is not hidden or secret or covert but is a boldly visible black/silver box which fits on as a belt-pack and has a neat headset. The whole thing looks like a very snazzy beltpack music playing machine, personal hi-fi, Walkman, mp3 player, iPlayer, or even the type of belt-pack radio microphone link which singers wear on stage.
How it works: A pair of high-sensitivity directional feedback-rejection microphones on the headset pick up the sound (in stereo) and send it to the belt-pack. A good quality amplifier powered by rechargeables in the belt-pack amplifies the sound to the correct chosen level and sends it back up to the headset. The earpieces on the headset push the sound into your ears at a loudness such that you can clearly hear!
In addition to providing a solution to deafness without the need for having to have something that is what people see as "A DEAF-AID", the machine has an option to be able to play tapes and CDs, but in contrast to the average portable hi-fi there is a lot less of the annoying noise pollution.
On the social point, you should never have to feel bad about a personal attribute or disability. Wearing a hearing-aid can make a bold positive statement, so on the badge plate you can choose options to say what you want, according to your own philosophical position on this matter.
As well as being in stereo, a further advantage of the device is that the quality and clarity of the output (made possible by ditching the need for miniaturisation and secrecy) is so good that it is Superhuman! As well as the improvement of level of hearing to super-human levels, there is also an increased directionality, the result being sonic direction-perception like that of a CAT! If you want to put furry ears on the device and on your head, it's up to you.
Device invented at Zyra Electric. Correspondence on this can be by email.htm. Especially welcome are messages of the type "We are a company interested in marketing this idea as a viable product to sell to thousands of street-credibility-conscious deaf people around the world and would like to agree a percentage deal". Or, if you are interested in buying one of these devices yourself, please contact me and I will keep you informed on the progress on this. If enough people are interested I will start manufacturing them myself!
Update 2011: You can now get a device online which is like this. Search for "silver sonic" at JML
Update 2012: Someone has commented that the idea is impractical because it would look rather peculiar wearing a pair of headphones at a dinner party. Well, would it? People wear glasses at dinner parties and no-one thinks that's odd. It is largely a matter of social convention, which is something you shouldn't be a slave to anyway.