Nevada man Rich Lee is a ‘bodyhacker’ or ‘grinder’, a person who experiments with body modification.
Mr Lee had magnets implanted in cartilage just outside his ear, and explained the unusual procedure in H+ magazine. The implants were done by American body modification artist Steve Haworth, who also performs ear-reshaping, tounge splitting and implanting “metal mohawks”.
To make the magnets pick up music, Mr Lee wears a coil around his neck, which is plugged into his phone. He also has a magnet implanted into his finger, and says that when he puts his finger in his ear he can now hear music coming from his finger.
"Having stuff like this done isn’t really in the realm of doctors,” Mr Lee wrote in H+. "The implant procedure itself went very smoothly and the pain was surprisingly minimal."
"The first thing everyone asks is "why would you do this?" Honestly, I don’t feel the need to answer this question. People either get it or they don’t. I’m a Grinder, and we are notorious for getting it," said Mr Lee.
Although the sound quality doesn’t match traditional headphones, Mr Lee has high hopes for his design, which he believes can eventually act as a GPS navigator or a radiation detector by attaching it to a Geiger counter. Mr Lee is losing his sight, and hopes the magnets may help him develop a form of echolocation that can help blind people navigate by vibrations, like bats do.
Connecting a microphone to his shirt will also let him hear conversations across a room, Mr Lee believes. Hooking the device up an app that detects stress levels in voices would also "come in handy at the poker table or to pre-screen business clients", he said.