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A new generation of non-invasive hearing technology, born of breakthroughs in neuroscience

A new generation of non-invasive hearing technology, born of breakthroughs in neuroscience

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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 Relief

Tinnitus affects 10 – 15% of people. 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 was originally done with tones plus shocks on the tongue, with strong results: about 80% of participants were significantly helped, with an average of 25% reduction in symptoms.

Our solution: Neosensory Duo

For Neosensory Duo, we have made this simpler and more effective. First, no doctor’s visit is required. We mail the equipment to your home. You simply download our free app, put on the wristband, and listen to a specially designed series of notes for 15 minutes a day. The sounds and our patented vibrations are synchronized, which tells the brain which sounds are external and which are internal. Over the course of weeks, neuroplasticity sets in to pay less attention to the internal sounds. 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

Relief duration

Over 87% of users find relief

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Figure 1. Efficacy of the Neosensory Tinnitus Program. Results from 29 participants. (a) Average tinnitus severity diminished by one-third. (b) The vast majority of users found significant relief.

Perrotta M & Eagleman DM (2021). Use of sound-touch bimodal stimulation to reduce symptoms of tinnitus. Frontiers in Neuroscience. In preparation.
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).

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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.

Perrotta, Asgeirsdottir, Eagleman (2021). Deciphering sounds through patterns of vibration on the skinNeuroscience.
Eagleman (2020). Livewired . New York: Pantheon.
Novich & Eagleman (2015). Using space and time to encode vibrotactile information: toward an estimate of the skin’s achievable throughputExperimental Brain Research.

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