Some of our posts on Medgadget are based on the strange emails we receive from our readers — but this post is especially unusual. It concerns a letter we received from Phraust Byte, nickname of a gentleman from Hawaii, who is interested in undergoing a surgical procedure to implant a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid. The BAHA is an electronic device used to correct conductive and sensineural hearing loss.
The thing is, his hearing is not impaired.
Byte’s plan is to use the hearing aid as a permanent set of headphones that can be wirelessly interfaced with any number of other devices. In addition, the BAHA might be used backwards as a microphone picking up the vibrations of the skull while talking.
He wanted us to find an otolaryngologist willing to do the operation.
This represented a bit of a dilemma. We’re wary of the risks of surgery, even when it’s absolutely necessary — and this hardly qualified as necessary. But Byte was persistent.
That’s when it occurred to one of us that Byte could be suffering from sensory dysphoria — like the body dysphoria that leads to cosmetic plastic surgery, or the gender dysphoria documented in sex-change operations. So, after much internal debate, we’ve decided to give this gentleman space to call out for assistance from our readership.
He is interested in learning whether he can undergo this procedure, whether any doctors might be interested in participating in this project, and what regulations govern such a thing. If you have any thoughts on this, email us or Phraust directly at phraust (at) gmail [dot] com …
Below is the original letter we received from Phraust Byte:
I’ve been looking to get myself a Bone Anchored hearing Aid for about a year now, and I have had the hardest time finding a doctor willing to implant it.
The problem is, I don’t have a hearing problem. In fact, my hearing is better than most. I have no problem however, with installing the titanium screw needed to resonate sound directly into my head. As I see it, it would offer me an “always on” bone mic & speaker, which could wirelessly connect to any of my devices (cell phones, pdas, computer, etc). The technology is easliy within reach for me to build a small wearable wireless unit, much like the sound processor they use with the B.A.H.A. system, but I do not want to lie about my condition (or lack thereof) to the doctor who will be installing this screw into my mastoid.
I’m hoping you can help me find a doctor (I’d really hate to end up in some “hospital” in Tiajuana with a rusty screwdriver and a bottle of tequila…) who is knowledgible in this field (and hopefully who is willing to do the operation for me), or with information regarding the potential hazards of having this done. I do not see why an operation like this shouldn’t be considered optional.
Any help at all will be greatly appreciated, although my luck so far (boingboing, gizmodo, and endgadget) has had no response whatsoever…
With fingers crossed!
That’s right — Medgadget boldly goes where other tech blogs fear to tread. Now we just need an ENT surgeon to put his or her license on the line…
For his more thorough thoughts about this project, take a look at this post.
More at Entific…
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