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News Release 11-098

Sound Safety

Novel device with rock 'n' roll roots may protect listeners from potential dangers of personal listening devices and hearing aids

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New research suggests a cause, and potential solution for the listener fatigue caused by in-ear headphones.

Credit: Steve McNally and Lisa Raffensperger, National Science Foundation. Images credited at video's end.


Lead author and audio pioneer Stephen Ambrose of Asius Technologies describes the reserach from two papers presented at the 130th Audio Engineering Society convention in London. The papers describe how sealing a speaker in the ear canal dramatically boosts sound pressures and how a modified ear-tip can help alleviate, or even eliminate, that effect.

Credit: NSF


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


Images of an ear on the left and the Ambrose Diaphonic Ear Lens on the right.

The Ambrose Diaphonic Ear Lens™ (ADEL), fully inflated. The inflation pressure, while gentle, is enough to seal the ear canal and improve grip.

Credit: Asius Technologies, LLC

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