A Futuristic Suit that Mimics Untreated Hearing Loss
An exhibit opened last week at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City that uses data-collecting gear to simulate the vision, hearing, and mobility of an 85-year-old person.
Apparently, the suit uses acoustic stimuli to simulate tinnitus, and attenuates sound and adds distortion to mimic untreated hearing loss. Increasingly, simulations and virtual reality are being employed to raise awareness for age-related health conditions. It is nice to see hearing loss enter the discussion, given that numerous agencies (including the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, 2015) estimate that hearing loss is the number one source of Years Lived with Disability (YLD) worldwide for those over 70 years of age.
Furthermore, vision and hearing deficits in the elderly often contribute to increased difficulty with communication when experienced in combination. Simulations like this, though crude, undoubtedly will help increase focus and attention on the societal impact of untreated hearing loss in the aging population.
New York Times (2016) A Futuristic Suit That Gives You a Taste of Old Age.