There are times when not being able to hear the wailing caterwaul that sometimes passes for music would be a distinct bonus. On the whole, though, the hearing impaired have it rough where music is concerned. A German designer has proposed incorporating a membrane into a special collar which resonates when music is played through it, allowing people with hearing difficulties to really get down and feel the funk.

Frederik Podzuweit's design could very well become the iPod for the hard of hearing. His concept places special vibrating membranes in contact with the wearer, which expand and contract as music is played through the collar. Bass sounds sit at the rear, mids atop each shoulder and highs towards the front.

The concept device would have a built-in radio receiver and an input for an audio player, with controls to the front to take care of playback. It is of course well known that the hearing impaired still enjoy music, in fact they probably experience it in ways the hearing can't even begin to appreciate. Podzuweit's collar may indeed help with this process but, as with most concepts, details of how (or even if) the device would actually work are lacking. For the moment, all we can do is look and wonder.

Should the design ever go into manufacture, it might be an idea to give users the option of wireless connectivity to media players as well as wired. It would undoubtedly need to be very, very lightweight and durable. My hearing is pretty sound, but even I would like to take this for a spin.

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