It has been stated many times: music is the universal language. Regardless of perceived barriers such as age, gender, race, geographic location, etc., there is something about music that can transcend and bring people together. Music speaks to us in ways that go beyond words. It can inspire, empower, soothe, console, and even help us to escape when we are going through rough times.
Music is one of the most powerful triggers of strong emotional experiences and their related cognitive processes.
Up until recent years, the emotive power of music was not fully accessible to people with hearing impairments. Many deaf individuals experience sound with the help of sign language interpreters, hearing aids, subtitles, etc., which can only do so much to express the fullness of an emotion or feeling behind certain sounds. According to Hearing through Vibrations: Perception of Musical Emotions by Profoundly Deaf People, "despite these advancements, 66% of 41 partially and profoundly deaf individuals reported feeling upset about not being able to fully engage with music in a recent survey"
Advances in tactile-audio feedback technology have created new possibilities for deaf people to feel music.
Vibrotactile (or haptX) devices such as SUBPAC have made it possible for deaf individuals to feel music in ways that have not been available before, unlocking a whole new experience of music and sound. These devices are changing the way the entire world experiences music by highlighting the power of vibration and feel, giving access to an entirely new dimension of sound.
Sound is vibration. According to Scientific American, "what we experience as sound is actually a mechanical wave, produced by the back-and-forth vibration of particles in the air (or whatever medium is around our ears—remember sound travels through water, too!)". When we come into direct contact with vibration, we are interacting with sound in it's essence. Research has proven many benefits to experiencing the vibration of certain sounds within and beyond what is audible in the human frequency spectrum.
A research study conducted utilizing SUBPAC technology found that "most participants (N=11) reported that the clear vibrotactile feedback from the wearable vibrotactile display resulted in an engaging and enhanced music experience in the study. Three participants further emphasized that the vibrations increased their enjoyment of the music. This finding is in line with previous research, which demonstrated greater enjoyment of music through vibrations."
As we further unlock the world of vibration, the music experience continues to become richer for music lovers of all kinds. We will continue to explore and highlight the healing and influential power of sound and vibration as more research becomes available.
Be sure to check out the upcoming livestream panel on Feeling Sound: Accessibility + Connectivity by
Have you experienced the power of haptX technology? Let us know @healthandbass :)