Personal music players have liberated us from the home hi-fi system and made music mobile. But there is a downside, particularly for younger listeners. According to the World Health Organization, over a billion young music lovers risk hearing loss by exposing themselves to unsafe volume levels when grooving on the move or having a good time at noisy bars and sporting events. The Aegis Pro headphones from 16-year-old Kingsley Cheng are designed to ensure that audio output never strays above a safe level, while also promising optimum sonic quality.
The new Aegis over-ears are by no means the first headphones aimed at keeping volume at a safe level for kids. Griffin's MyPhones from 2009 and last year's HeadFoams bendy headphones do exactly that. But though teenager Kingsley and his father Rayman have youngsters in their sights, the Aegis Pro headphones haven't been designed to look like something a child would wear, and also come with the promise of studio quality audio performance.
"We didn't want to make kiddie-looking headphones," revealed teenager Kingsley Cheng. "Aegis headphones are all about looking and sounding great. They're stylish and they sound amazing, and the best part is that you'll be able to hear them well into the future because you're not damaging your hearing by listening to them."
The Aegis Pro headphones feature something called jamsDefender technology. This combines three mode active noise cancellation to block out up to 95 percent of unwanted ambient noise with a digital decibel equalizer that's said to optimize the source audio volume to ensure that audio quality isn't sacrificed when the volume limiting circuitry kicks in and keeps everything below 85 decibels.
A dual driver design with onboard digital signal processing sees a tweeter handling the higher frequencies and a second speaker taking care of the low to mids. Integrated Bluetooth connectivity means that the Pro headphones can be used cabled or wireless, and a claimed 14 hour Li-ion battery life should satisfy even the most avid mobile listener's all-day music enjoyment needs.
Playback, volume and phone controls can be found on the right earcup. Parents and guardians can monitor a wearer's continuous listening time, with LED indicators on the earcups showing blue for less than two hours, yellow for up to eight hours and red for more than that. Comfort comes in the shape of hypoallergenic memory foam cushions and headband.
To bring what are being pitched as the world's safest headphones to production, the Chengs have launched on Kickstarter. The campaign runs until November 4, but has already surpassed its US$25,000 funding target.
A $99 super early bird pledge level for a starter pack that includes a pair of Aegis Pro headphones in either black, gold, white blue or red, a micro-USB travel charger, an audio cable with inline remote, a carry pouch and instructions is still showing as available at the time of writing, representing $50 off the expected retail price. If all goes to plan, shipping to safety conscious young music lovers is estimated to start in January 2016.
The headphones are introduced in the video below.