Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Are you too poor to afford an exotic beach vacation in the dead of this frigid winter? Now, with the “Noisy Instrument” (pictured below) you can bring the sounds of the ocean to your sad, depressed little ear canals while simultaneously looking like your hearing aid ran amok.

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Well, actually you can’t, because it doesn’t seem to be listed for sale by makers Jun Murakoshi Design. Sorry for the false hope.

So how does a seashell (or the unattainable Noisy Instrument) produce that whooshing oceany sound when placed close to your ear? The answer is that the device/shell traps ambient noise around you and channels it into your ear canal, creating the illusion of ocean noise, which can be modified by the level of ambient noise and the angle of the shell to your ear. The Noisy Instrument’s “branches” (which extend in a few directions) are open-ended and collect ambient noise, while the “reservoir” at the end of the device is closed and makes sure that the sound is channeled into the ear canal. The same effect can be obtained by cupping your hand over your ear too, so actually you don’t even need these headphones. Which is good because it looks like it would fall off if you bent over to pick something up.

Hat tip Abby Normal, lurker par excellence.


  1. #1 Dave Briggs
    January 16, 2008

    Interesting looking device. I wonder if it will catch on as ear rings replacements? LOL!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  2. #2 Shelley Batts
    January 16, 2008

    Hmmm, doubtful. Looks like they’d get in the way of normal activities, or would fall off if you moved your head.

  3. #3 Jason Leary
    January 27, 2008

    They ought to distribute and sell that device soon. The sound of the ocean amplified somewhat loudly in the ear would be quite sonorous and would, moreover, present the possibility of cleansing the doors of perception . It most likely could engender an oceanic feeling (no pun intended) . The sound of a fountain or an ocean magnified causes one to feel a mood of cosmic, ontological depth .

    It would be very edifying to those of us who seldom have the opportunity to visit the actual coast (like yours truly living in the terribly prosaic inland central Florida town of Bartow, Florida !)

    (By the way, I ‘ve visited your blog for the first time and must declare after reading what you have posted and seeing your countenance in photograph —that you are a fascinating and beautiful young woman :Ms .Shelley Batts .)

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