Music is a big element of everyday life also it may be for nearly as long as People have now been on this planet. I often point to a finding of the 40,000-year-old flute dating back to that ice age as evidence for this, but in fact, all of the facts you will need is all around you, every day. We remember ballads and music long after the folks who first composed them have died and rotted away (an idea which I find curiously soothing) plus the music industry, like it or hate it, is definitely a huge business.
Though, while the ice age musicians probably survived during a world of stark violence, frozen, unimaginative wastelands and harsh, ‘kill or be killed’ inter-cave politics, they by no means required to cope with road works, delivery lorries, screaming babies or drunken rabble-rousers on their way to a stag evening. Fortunate buggers.
Today’s listener has to deal with all that plus much more, which can make listening to the music not only difficult, but additionally dangerous.
Now, nonetheless, present science has stumbled over a means in which you can still listen to your favourite tunes, even if you’re wearing earplugs (no, I have not been sniffing discarded paint cans again). It’s called bone conduction technology and no, despite the slightly odd name, it really does not hurt…
Based on recent research, exposure to any sound over 100 decibels wears away a film known as the myelin sheath and leaves your internal ear prone to problems like tinnitus and temporary deafness, which can be the beginning of much more significant problems. Bone conduction technology is designed to bypass many sensitive portions of your ear and reduce the chance of inner-ear harm.
How? Well, in order to understand that, we require to first identify with how our ears essentially work. (HERE COMES THE SCIENCE-Y BIT) Principally, sound travels though the space, these sound waves are intercepted by quite a few structures in the ear and are ultimately translated and transmitted into our brains (if it helps, visualize it like the encoding/decoding of digital information, like that which guides the movements of the wireless mouse).
The sound waves first encounter a bit of cartilage (yes, identical stuff that a shark’s skeleton is formed of), which helps to focus the sound, this is named a pinna (but you can call it your outer ear without looking too silly).
Subsequently, the sound waves pass into your middle ear, that is filled with air and in addition includes both your aural canal plus your eardrum (my little brother burst his when he was little and virtually burst mine crying about it). The eardrum vibrates, passing the sound through to a ossicles, which are three small bones (that are actually pretty essential to the sense of steadiness, I am told). These tiny bones transmit the signal to the cochlea, which is a fluid-filled structure that ‘encodes’ the indicators for our brain to ‘decode’.
Bone conduction technology vibrates the bones of the skull, distributing the sound directly to a cochlea and bypassing the remainder of their ear completely. The nerve impulses transmitted to your brain are precisely the same, but the sensitive mechanism of our ear does not have to deal with the trouble of, to quote Anchorman’s Brick Tamland “LOUD NOISES!”
This process appears to be totally safe; in reality, the notably deaf composer Beethoven employed a rudimentary version of this process to be able to compose his most renowned works. He attached a rod linking his piano and his head and, as such, was able to listen to the music he was playing.
So there you go, rather than exposing your sensitive ears to louder and louder volumes, to drown out the environment noise, it is possible to alternativily stick your earpugs in and play your music at the correct volume. Make no bones about it (groan!)
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