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New technology can help those with hearing impairments by feeling sound

Speaker
Posted at 11:58 AM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 13:58:48-05

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Gerson Lemus has been cutting hair for about 10 years.

“I say it found me more than I found it,” said Lemus.

People come to his shop, J’Bez barbershop in Riverside, Cailfornia, to get a fresh haircut and feel good about their appearance.

But when you sit down on the couch, you might feel something else.

It’s not an ordinary couch. It’s a speaker.

“I felt the music, so it was cool, it was cool,” said customer Jeremiah Mittchell, who was sitting on the couch.

“I like the fact that you can feel the noise while you’re there, and people can feel what 5d audio. I try to explain it, but it’s hard to get it through words, so you sit down on the couch, and you can experience it,” said Lemus.

It is hard to explain. So I just put the camera down on the couch, and you can see how much it vibrates as the music plays.

It’s a unique experience, all made possible by this guy, Ethan Castro, and his team at Edge Sound Research.

“Sound is vibration, so if you can control vibrations, you can control sounds and most of reality, right? So that’s essentially what we do, are we take advantage of vibration to make things seem really, really real,” said Castro.

He says those vibrations can help those who are deaf or have hearing issues experience the world more like those that can hear. He knows all about it.

“I was born premature, and that led to me having issues that caused me to be hard of hearing,” said Castro, “As I got older, it became more apparent that I was really missing half of all words that were being said or I couldn’t understand what people were saying as much as I knew someone was talking, but I didn’t know what they were saying.”

That’s what drives him to create products that can help the estimated 10 million people in the U.S. that are hard of hearing and the one million functionally deaf Americans according to the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

Castro hopes this technology can help people with hearing issues feel like they belong.

“When we invented it all together at UC Riverside, and I finally turned it on for the first time, I started feeling the music through my body like directly. I remember I was a little overwhelmed by trying to contend with my emotions of just like, hey, I don’t have to struggle anymore. I don’t have to worry anymore of trying so hard to try to fit in,” he said.