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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 16  |  Page : 1532-1540

Cutaneous sensory nerve as a substitute for auditory nerve in solving deaf-mutes' hearing problem: an innovation in multi-channel-array skin-hearing technology

1 College of Electric & Information Engineering; Skin-Hearing Research Institute, Shaanxi University of Science & Technology, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China
2 Skin-Hearing Research Institute, Shaanxi University of Science & Technology; Library of Shaanxi University of Science & Technology, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China
3 College of Computer Science, Xi'an Polytechnic University, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China

Correspondence Address:
Jianwen Li
College of Electric & Information Engineering, Shaanxi University of Science & Technology, Xi'an 710021, Shaanxi Province, China; Skin-Hearing Research Institute, Shaanxi University of Science & Technology, Xi'an 710021, Shaanxi Province
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Source of Support: This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 60672001; Special Fund of Education Department of Shaanxi Province, China, No. 05JC03., Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.139480

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The current use of hearing aids and artificial cochleas for deaf-mute individuals depends on their auditory nerve. Skin-hearing technology, a patented system developed by our group, uses a cutaneous sensory nerve to substitute for the auditory nerve to help deaf-mutes to hear sound. This paper introduces a new solution, multi-channel-array skin-hearing technology, to solve the problem of speech discrimination. Based on the filtering principle of hair cells, external voice signals at different frequencies are converted to current signals at corresponding frequencies using electronic multi-channel bandpass filtering technology. Different positions on the skin can be stimulated by the electrode array, allowing the perception and discrimination of external speech signals to be determined by the skin response to the current signals. Through voice frequency analysis, the frequency range of the band-pass filter can also be determined. These findings demonstrate that the sensory nerves in the skin can help to transfer the voice signal and to distinguish the speech signal, suggesting that the skin sensory nerves are good candidates for the replacement of the auditory nerve in addressing deaf-mutes' hearing problems. Scientific hearing experiments can be more safely performed on the skin. Compared with the artificial cochlea, multi-channel-array skin-hearing aids have lower operation risk in use, are cheaper and are more easily popularized.

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