Under normal circumstances, sound causes such minute vibrations to the ear drum that they are not visible to the eye. They are on the order of nanometers. However, sealing the ear canal with earbuds causes a much higher volume inside the canal than normal--and therefore stresses the ear drum and middle ear. The overexcursions of the ear drum can be seen easily. Two new solutions to this problem have been designed. In the first, the Ambrose Diaphonic Ear Lens™ inflatable ear tip, the abuse from the sound waves is absorbed by an inflated bubble, allowing respite to the ear drum. The second is a similar solution and a retrofit option to earbuds currently available on the market--a hole is drilled into the ear buds and a synthetic membrane is introduced, taking the brunt of the vibrations and making for incredibly high fidelity sound quality.
Credit: Zina Deretsky/NSF