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Researchers to help deaf 'hear

health and fitness Updated: Feb 28, 2009 18:59 IST
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Researchers are working on tactile devices that can help the deaf to 'hear' -- through vibrations.

Tactile devices translate sound waves into vibrations that allow the user to distinguish between vibratory patterns associated with different sound frequencies.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Sensory Communication Group are working on a new generation of such devices.

This will help the deaf to get the nuances of speech that cannot be gleaned from lip reading.

Certain consonants like 'p' and 'b' are nearly impossible to distinguish by lip reading alone.

This could be an important tool for deaf people who rely on lip reading and cannot use or afford cochlear implants.

The cost of the device and the surgery make cochlear implants prohibitive for many, especially in the developing countries.