If you wear cochlear implants, sound doesn’t enter through your ear, but rather from microphones above your ears. That means earbuds are useless and you have to resort to large and clumsy over the ear headphones. [Mjcraig23] wanted the convenience of earbuds and set out to do what we all do: hack it.
The result is handily portable as you can see in the video, below. The trick is that he used replacement battery covers and then grafted earbud holders (called EARBUDi) to them using one of our favorite fasteners, zip ties. Apparently, you can wire a cable directly into the device, but then you lose the ability to hear what’s going on around you, which would not be a good idea for catching some tunes while walking your dog or other common earbud use cases.
In addition to zip ties, there’s some heat shrink involved. Of course, the design only works with one specific unit, the MED-EL Sonnet, but the same ideas could apply to other devices, as well, with some tuning. We couldn’t help but think that a 3D printed piece could have cut down on the assembly as you could have the holders directly integrated with the battery covers (and not have to pay $40 for the covers, too).
However, people have been hacking things together way before we all had 3D printers and there’s nothing wrong with the method used here. It blends in well with the existing device, fits great, and reportedly the battery covers with the mounts will fit in a pocket when not in use.
Many people don’t sleep with the external unit attached, which makes conventional alarm clocks and smoke alarms useless. We covered a device meant to solve that problem. Of course, even people who don’t have an implant can block out the outside world with earbuds. For those people, there’s always this cheeky Hackaday Prize entry.