Loading EarQ.com

Scientists Turn to a Pest to Develop New Hearing Technology

Published: 08/25/2014

Last Updated: 06/27/2018

Ochracea -
 FlyScientists are currently analyzing the specialized ears of a parasitoid fly, ormia ochracea, to better understand how they work in order to further develop microphones for future directional hearing devices.

Ormia ochracea’s sophisticated ears allow it to accurately locate crickets, their main source of sustenance, by hearing their chirps. Because the fly’s head is so small, its ears are only separated by a millimeter of space. As a result, sound arrives at both ears at almost the same time. To help it figure out what direction a sound is coming from, the fly’s eardrums are connected by a structure that acts like a teeter-totter in order to amplify the tiny differences in the arrival time of sound.

Since its discovery in the mid-1990s, this teeter-totter structure has been the focus for many scientists looking to recreate the mechanisms in humans.

“It’s like having two microphones in one that are linked together by this teeter-totter,” said Neal Hall, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Texas. Hall recently completed a prototype of a microphone based on the Ormia ochracea’s ear.

The development of this technology could lead to improved directional hearing devices, as well as reduce their power consumption.


Original Source:

How a tiny fly’s ears could help you hear better


Related Information:

Today’s advanced hearing devices

Anatomy of the Ear

What can a chicken teach us about hearing loss?


Last Updated: August 26, 2014


Share this:



You may also be interested in:


Sign Up for Hearing Healthcare News

EarQ's monthly newsletter gives you helpful information on developments and fun facts about hearing healthcare and EarQ. We also include special offers, so be sure to keep an eye on your email inbox for the EarQ newsletter each month.



Find nearest EarQ Provider
Like EarQ on Facebook Follow EarQ on Twitter Follow EarQ on Pinterest Follow EarQ on LinkedIn
ZagThere are hundreds of EarQ providers nationwide. Find the one closest to you!