Sick of not being able to hear bats or whales? This new “multi-frequency” hearing aid allows humans to hear bat echolocation, whale song, and dog whistles! This could be extremely useful in very unlikely situations.


Some animals communicate at frequencies outside of the normal range of human hearing. For example, bats are constantly flying around and emitting shrill echolocation “pings,” but humans typically can’t hear them.


Electronic hearing aids have existed for many years, but they’ve always focused on enhancing hearing in the normal human ranges—no one has created one that allow a person to hear bats, dog whistles, or the full range of whale song. Until now, that is! 

Figure 1 shows a proposed interface that would allow a hearing-air-wearer to switch between different modes.

Fig. 1: This hearing aid has a dial that the wearer can use to select between “human” mode or whale, bat, or dog frequencies. Other animals could, of course, be added too.


The best part of this proposal is that the the hearing aid would probably cost almost exactly the same amount, so there’s really no downside.

PROS: Should increase the wearer’s connection to the natural world by appreciating elements of it that they were previously unaware of (e.g. bat sounds).

CONS: Might encourage people to stick their head into the ocean to listen to whale songs, which would increase the chance of the wearer being dragged into the briny depths by a giant octopus.