Music is a large part of daily life and it may be for almost as long as Humans have been on this planet. I often point to a discovery of the 40,000-year-old flute dating back to that ice age as evidence for this, but in fact, all the evidence you need is all around you, each day. We recall ballads and songs long after the people who 1st composed them have died and rotted away (a thought which I find curiously comforting) plus the music industry, love it or hate it, is actually a huge business.
However, whilst the ice age musicians likely lived during a world of stark brutality, frozen, featureless wastelands and tough, ‘kill or be killed’ inter-cave politics, they by no means needed to deal with road works, delivery lorries, screaming toddlers or drunken crowd-rousers on their way to a stag evening. Lucky buggers.
Today’s listener has to accommodate all that and more, which can make listening to the music not just difficult, but additionally risky.
Now, nonetheless, contemporary science has stumbled across a means in which you’ll be able to still listen to the favorite tunes, even if you’re wearing earplugs (no, I’ve not been sniffing discarded paint cans once more). It’s called skeleton conduction tech and no, despite the marginally strange name, it really doesn’t hurt…
Based on recent fields of study, exposure to any noise over 100 decibels wears away a membrane known as a myelin sheath and leaves your middle ear prone to problems like tinnitus and temporary deafness, that may be the beginning of much more momentous problems. Bone conduction technology is designed to bypass various sensitive portions of your ear and reduce the chance of inner-ear harm.
How? Well, in order to understand that, we have to first comprehend how our ears essentially work. (HERE COMES THE SCIENCE-Y BIT) Principally, noise travels though the space, these sound waves are intercepted by quite a few structures inside the ear and are eventually translated and transmitted into our brains (if it helps, visualize it like the encoding/decoding of digital information, like that which leads the actions of the wireless mouse).
The sound waves first encounter a bit of cartilage (yes, the same stuff a shark’s skeleton is made of), which helps to focus the sound, this is named a pinna (but you’ll call it your outer ear without looking too silly).
After that, the sound waves pass into your central ear, it is filled up with air and in addition includes both your auditory canal and your eardrum (my little brother burst his when he was little and nearly burst mine crying about it). The eardrum vibrates, passing the sound through to a ossicles, that are three small bones (that are in fact pretty vital to your sense of balance, I am told). These tiny bones transmit the noise to the cochlea, that’s a fluid-filled structure that ‘encodes’ the indicators for our brain to ‘decode’.
Bone conduction tech vibrates the bones of the skull, distributing the noise directly to a cochlea and bypassing the rest of the ear completely. The nerve impulses transmitted to your brain are precisely the same, but the sensitive instrument of our ear doesn’t have to deal with the trouble of, to cite Anchorman’s Brick Tamland “LOUD NOISES!”
This method seems to be entirely safe; in fact, the famously deaf composer Beethoven employed a elementary version of this method 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 song he was playing.
So here you go, instead of exposing your sensitive ears to louder and louder volumes, to drown out the environment noise, you are able to instead stick your earpugs in and play your music at the correct volume. Make no bones about it (groan!)