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Jan 06, 2006

Wired has the story of a hearing-impaired DIY’er who hacked his hearing aid so he could listen to Boléo

But I no longer doubt that incredible things can be done with that unused 90 percent of my implant’s hardware capacity. Tests conducted a month after my visit to Advanced Bionics show that my ability to discriminate among notes has improved considerably. With Hi-Res, I was able to identify notes only when they were at least 70 hertz apart. Now, I can hear notes that are only 30 hertz apart. It’s like going from being able to tell the difference between red and blue to being able to distinguish between aquamarine and cobalt.

My hearing is no longer limited by the physical circumstances of my body. While my friends’ ears will inevitably decline with age, mine will only get better.

Michael Chorost (the author and article subject) has a webpage at

The article serves both as a sober reminder - when you lose your hearing, it’s gone for good - and a ray of hope that maybe modern medicine can make hearing loss history.

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Here’s an article that gives a (lay) description at some of the engineering that goes into making cars quieter:

We’re not talking about installing a new audio system and locating and sizing the speakers for maximum effectiveness and accuracy. We’re talking about working with the vehicle itself and its components to ensure the sounds the occupants can hear are not only minimal but pleasant.

Lead acoustical engineer George Bei says it is one thing to reach numerical acoustic targets and quite another to ensure the quality of those sounds is pleasant. His team measured and tuned everything from the power train and body structure to the sound emitted when the glove box door is closed.

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