How can frogs help us build better hearing aids?
I think this topic is very interesting. It has been known that we have used pigs for their hearts and other animals for other parts that are related to the human. The new a very fascinating topic is the use of frogs to understand how to make hearing aids better. I think it would be a marvelous idea and outcome because the majority of people when they reach the elder years of life will want to have hearing aids. Why not have hearing aids that are just like you didn’t have them? Isn’t that the point?
The research being done is very helpful because they are taking a female frog, which has better hearing than a male, putting it in a situation that can be controlled and having all kinds of other kinds of frog’s calls going. The female can pick up on the call from its own species and tell exactly where the male is in the room. I find this to be very true in humans also, if you walk into a crowded room and find one person you know you can tell what they are saying because you know what their voice sounds like which is different from everyone else. By studying frogs in many different situations can give researchers a better understanding of this way of hearing. It can also tell them why it happens and how. One thing that Mark Bee, lead researcher, wants to do is manipulate the sounds the frogs hear to find out if frogs have the ability to hear the mating call of a male frog and pick it out. Bee selected this college because of all the water. Although there is only about fourteen species of frogs there is a large quantity of them. One thing that will benefit him here is the fact that many people at the U are interested in human hearing.
The sound chamber they are using also sounds very interesting because it is a dark box to simulate night time that has speakers in it the give off different male frog species mating calls. Infrared camera in the box allows them to see what speaker the female frog jumps to. The idea of manipulating the surroundings and using what the frogs will give them is what the research will really help them with.
The research in the way it is being done is also a wonderful idea because it is giving the opportunity for students to conduct in actual university studies. The University of Minnesota is a research college so why not let the students get their hands wet with something may love to do. It is also teaching students about life and hearing especially. This will provide experience, learning practices, and possibly helping them out in the future if they discover a way to relate the frog’s sense of hearing back to humans and use it in hearing aids.