Air Date: Oct 19, 2016
Episode: Gray Matters

Whether talking about the stuff between our ears, the indecision on who to vote for, or how much of our privacy we must sacrifice in order to feel safe, the areas in between the extremes are where most of life is lived, the gray areas definitely matter. This episode of Audiofiles is not about the white, nor the black, not the right or the wrong. We dig into the Gray Matters and how the things that live in the middle sometimes have unexpected consequences.

Producer: Raul Hernandez
Assistant Producer: W. Harry Fortuna
Music Producer: Jaja Grays
Hosts: Christopher Inoa and Nomin Ujiyediin
Stories By: Devin Holt, Anna Roberts, Joanna Purpich, Brandon Nix and Zachary Ripple

Contributors: Devin Holt, Anna Roberts, Joanna Purpich, Brandon Nix, Zachary Ripple, Guglielmo Mattioli and Angely Mercado

Musical Guest: Grey Reverend with Brian Baker on Trumpet


Zone out with the ‘get-high headphones’; New tech pushes out your brain’s happy juice
By Devin Holt

Your longest cranial nerve, that’s a nerve that originates in the brain instead of the spine, runs from your brain to your heart, stomach, lungs and other internal organs. It’s called the vagus nerve and controls various unconscious body functions like heart rate and digestion (if you’ve ever passed out at the sight of blood, that’s the vagus nerve).

Photos: Devin Holt

Sade Spence demonstrates headphones at Audio46 in Midtown Manhattan. Photos: Devin Holt

Doctors have used the vagus nerve for decades to treat depression, epilepsy and other disorders. The nerve is stimulated with small bursts of electricity, which increases production of the chemicals in your brain that regulate mood. But a wellness company called Nervana has released a headset that uses vagus nerve stimulation in a new way: to help regular people unwind after a tough day. Sound enthusiast and headphone expert Sade Spence calls them “the high headphones.”

Music credits: and Tame Impala

Headphones at Audio46 in Midtown Manhattan.