A new generation of non-invasive hearing technology, born of breakthroughs in neuroscience
The science of sensory substitution
Neosensory feeds information to the brain via touch. Our technology emerged from the research laboratory of neuroscientist Dr. David Eagleman, and under the aegis of Neosensory we have built our technology into a sleek wristband with vibratory motors, a microphone, high computational capacity, and cutting-edge algorithms.
We have many projects underway. Below we show the science behind two of them: tinnitus and hearing loss.
Tinnitus affects 10 – 15% of the population. It’s not rare, but it can be difficult to live with. There’s no cure for tinnitus, but new neuroscience research shows that pairing notes with touch (known as bimodal stimulation) can reduce the volume and annoyance of ringing in the ears. This research was originally done with tones plus shocks on the tongue (Marks et al 2018; Conlon et al 2020), but that approach requires going into an audiology clinic every day for treatment.
Now bimodal stimulation has a new approach.
Our solution: Neosensory Duo
With Neosensory Duo, we have made bimodal stimulation simpler and more effective. First, no doctor’s visit is required. We mail the wristband to your home. You simply download our free app, put on the wristband, and listen to a specially designed series of notes for 10 minutes a day. The sounds and patented vibrations are synchronized. Over time, this teaches the brain which sounds are real (external) and which are self-generated (internal). Over the course of weeks, your brain learns to pay less attention to the internal sounds, and tinnitus becomes less challenging to deal with on a daily basis. Most customers participate in our subscription program for 2 months, some find it useful to keep it for 3 months, and others keep it forever.
Relief over duration of program
Over 87% of users find relief
Figure 1. Efficacy of the Neosensory program for people with moderate to severe tinnitus, as measured by the Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI).
Results from Perrotta, Kohler, Eagleman (2023) Bimodal Stimulation for the Reduction of Tinnitus Using Vibration on the Skin. International Tinnitus Journal.
Perrotta M, Kohler I, Eagleman DM (2023). Bimodal stimulation for the reduction of tinnitus using vibration on the skin. International Tinnitus Journal. [paper]
Conlon B, Langguth B, Hamilton C, Hughes S, Meade E, Connor CO, Schecklmann M, Hall DA, Vanneste S, Leong SL, Subramaniam T (2020). Bimodal neuromodulation combining sound and tongue stimulation reduces tinnitus symptoms in a large randomized clinical study. Science Translational Medicine. 12(564).
Eagleman DM (2020). Livewired. Pantheon Books.
Marks KL, Martel DT, Wu C, Basura GJ, Roberts LE, Schvartz-Leyzac KC, Shore SE (2018). Auditory-somatosensory bimodal stimulation desynchronizes brain circuitry to reduce tinnitus in guinea pigs and humans. Science Translational Medicine. 10(422).
Clarify for Speech Comprehension
Nearly 20% of the world’s population suffers from hearing loss, and even those with healthy hearing can have difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments.
To help with speech understanding, we have developed Clarify: your AI-powered partner that helps you understand speech via small vibrations on your wrist.
Introducing Neosensory Clarify
The Clarify wristband delivers spatially unique vibrations to the wrist in correspondence with target phonemes that are typically the most difficult to hear, especially in the presence of noise. The wristband picks up sound from the environment through an onboard microphone, and uses a machine learning algorithm to filter background noise and extract target phonemes from speech.
With practice, the brain learns to combine information from the skin with auditory signals from the ears. The user is then able to understand a complete and meaningful message through the integration of complementary sensory inputs.
Proven improvement over just six weeks
Improvement over six weeks, as measured by the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB). The chart represents the change in perceived level of disability over the course of six weeks of wearing the wristband. Envelope represents standard error of the mean.
Our clinical studies show that Clarify successfully transforms speech sounds into haptic vibrations on the wrist, helping users better understand speech. This markedly improves the quality and productivity of daily activities, including the ability to connect with others in noisy environments and fully enjoy conversations, movies, and podcasts. The Clarify wristband can be used by itself or in conjunction with traditional hearing aids.
Sound awareness for hearing loss
For years we have studied how people who are deaf or hard of hearing can learn to identify sounds that are algorithmically translated into spatiotemporal patterns of vibration on the skin of the wrist.
In our peer-reviewed, published data, we have demonstrated that in a three-alternative forced choice task, participants could determine the identity of up to 95% of the stimuli simply by the spatial pattern of vibrations on the skin. Performance improved significantly over the course of 1 month. Similar results were obtained with pattern discrimination, in which a pattern representing the sound of one word was presented to the skin, followed by that of a second word. Participants answered whether the word was the same or different.
With minimal difference pairs (distinguished by only one phoneme, such as “house” and “mouse”), the best performance was 83% (average of 62%), while with non-minimal pairs (such as “house” and “zip”) the best performance was 100% (average of 70%).
These results demonstrate that participants are capable of using the channel of the skin to interpret sound.
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