Good Vibrations Project Summary

The USA has 30,000,000 people with hearing loss and 8,000,000 who wear hearing aids (HA). Globally, over 200,000 have cochlear implants (CI). For many, perception of music is diminished because they cannot process certain frequencies or other critical elements of musical experience. This experiment seeks to use tactile sound to improve their experience of music.

This experiment was conceived because I learned that by putting teeth on a guitar, I could hear it over noise. That effect, bone conduction, led me to study tactile sound. I conceived and built a device that filters sound into frequency ranges applied to different body parts. The target group was younger CI users. Twelve subjects, 6 men and 6 women with hearing loss were tested, 6 with CIs, 6 with HAs, along with 2 normal-range hearing subjects
(man and woman).

Independent Variable

Adding K-MAD (K Music Assist Device) at optimal position on subject’s body with loudspeakers playing music.

Dependent Variables

Improvement or decline in experience of music when using K-MAD with sound speakers playing music.

Type of improvement or decline in subject’s experience: for example, does subject identify instruments or voice?

Controlled Variables

Consistent materials, music, procedures and definitions

Use of optimal position of K-MAD for each subject

All subjects tested with their hearing assistance device at “normal” setting

All deaf subjects’ showed great improvement, with best results from the 4 CI users under 55, averaging 93.5% rating increase. Even the 5 HA users under 65 showed a 35% gain.

Good Vibrations

(Jonah composed video's music)