When trying to make the next leading hearing aid or hearing aid technology researchers are not afraid to look in unexpected places. They look at what people need in hearing aids and look to find the best solution. Sometimes the solution happens to be found in very strange places you would least expect. Most recently, researchers started looking to a fly known as ormia ochracea.
This little fly, that we, and most every other creature on the planet would find quite annoying has some pretty impressive ears. This particular fly looks to feed off of crickets, but first must located the crickets. To do this, they must listen to the chirping noise that a cricket makes. This is where they have an advantage in hearing that we do not have, the proximity of their ears to one another. The fly has such little space between its ears that sound arrives at both ears at exactly the same time. Once the sound reaches the ears, it almost teeter-totters to whatever side the noise came from, making it easy for the fly to locate a cricket. Researchers hope to mimic this type of sound processing into hearing devices. They are looking into ways to create a microphone that teeter-totters with the way sounds come in, meaning if a noise comes from the right side of you, the hearing aid would know this, and therefore amplify sound to the right of you. Could you imagine having a hearing aid able to do this for you almost instantaneously? That could be a very real possibility in the near future and you can thank the fly for inspiring such a great new technological advancement.
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