Music

Full fidelity headphones create a set it and forget it personal hearing profile

Full fidelity headphones creat...
After a short tone test, the Audeara headphones create a unique hearing profile for the listener, which tailors the output to each user
After a short tone test, the Audeara headphones create a unique hearing profile for the listener, which tailors the output to each user
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The unique hearing profile of an Audeara user is retained in the headphones, meaning that once it's set up, listeners can feed in music from any source
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The unique hearing profile of an Audeara user is retained in the headphones, meaning that once it's set up, listeners can feed in music from any source
A user's hearing threshold is calculated by gauging responses to tones generated by the Audeara headphones across eight, 16 or 32 frequency bands
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A user's hearing threshold is calculated by gauging responses to tones generated by the Audeara headphones across eight, 16 or 32 frequency bands
Since hearing may degrade over time, Audeara does encourage periodic retesting, but for the most part it can be set up and forgotten about
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Since hearing may degrade over time, Audeara does encourage periodic retesting, but for the most part it can be set up and forgotten about
After a short tone test, the Audeara headphones create a unique hearing profile for the listener, which tailors the output to each user
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After a short tone test, the Audeara headphones create a unique hearing profile for the listener, which tailors the output to each user
The first Audeara prototype escaped from the lab in January last year and now the company is at the pre-production stage of development
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The first Audeara prototype escaped from the lab in January last year and now the company is at the pre-production stage of development
As well as personal hearing profiles, the Audeara headphones also feature Bluetooth 4.2 and active noise cancellation
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As well as personal hearing profiles, the Audeara headphones also feature Bluetooth 4.2 and active noise cancellation
Hearing profile test results are stored on the Audeara headphones
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Hearing profile test results are stored on the Audeara headphones
The first Audeara prototype escaped from the lab in January last year and now the company is at the pre-production stage of development
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The first Audeara prototype escaped from the lab in January last year and now the company is at the pre-production stage of development
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Each of us has a unique hearing profile. And what's good for one ear might not be for the other. These are the guiding principles behind the development of the Audeara headphones, which are aimed at making music sound better, not just louder or needlessly thunderous. After a short hearing test, the headphones adapt the output to match the user and that tailored sound profile is then stored on the headphones, meaning users don't need to launch an app every time they want to listen to music.

Years of submitting our auditory system to regular bursts of city center hustle and bustle, volumous rock concerts or music played way too loud through earphones can result in damaged hearing. Exactly how much varies from person to person. As such, each individual may perceive music played through headphones very differently, as we found out when we tried a Nura headphone prototype last year, which – like the Audeara cans – put listeners through a hearing test and generates a personal hearing profile based on the results.

A user's hearing threshold is calculated by gauging responses to tones generated by the Audeara headphones across eight, 16 or 32 frequency bands
A user's hearing threshold is calculated by gauging responses to tones generated by the Audeara headphones across eight, 16 or 32 frequency bands

The Nura headphones have yet to ship, suffering production delays after a successful Kickstarter. The Audeara cans from Dr. James Fielding and Dr. Chris Jeffrey have also launched on Kickstarter and if the production schedule stays true to estimates, could reach backers before the Nura phones.

Though the Audeara system also relies on a hearing test, the listener's profile is determined by responses to sounds rather than by creating a hearing curve after performing an automated 30-second otoacoustic test.

"From what we understand, is that Nura headphones do everything automatically then change the sound for you," Dr. Fielding explained to a Kickstarter backer. "They do this by bouncing sound waves off your eardrum to use your anatomy to determine your hearing profile. We put the power in your hands and ask you directly – can you hear the beep? The automatic OAE process that Nura use require a strong seal on the eardrum and they use an earbud and over ear setup. We've decided to keep things traditional and use a really comfortable over ear design."

The Audeara test is undertaken on a smart device running an iOS/Android companion app that connects to the headphones over Bluetooth 4.2 and starts talking to the circuit board inside the headphones. A user's hearing threshold is calculated by gauging responses to tones generated by the headphones across eight, 16 or 32 frequency bands.

The unique hearing profile of an Audeara user is then retained in the headphones, meaning that once it's set up, listeners can feed in music from any source and the profile will be applied to the signal before it reaches the ears. Audeara says that each ear is tested separately and that multiple user profiles can be stored in each pair of headphones.

As well as personal hearing profiles, the Audeara headphones also feature Bluetooth 4.2 and active noise cancellation
As well as personal hearing profiles, the Audeara headphones also feature Bluetooth 4.2 and active noise cancellation

Since hearing may degrade over time, the company does encourage periodic retesting, but for the most part it can be set up and forgotten about. Test results can also be stored and tracked through the app, and if any significant impairment is detected, an alert will appear advising the user to seek medical advice.

The Audeara headphones feature active noise cancellation and can be cabled up to music sources, for non-wireless playback during flights for example. An integrated Li-ion battery is reported to be good for up to 12 hours of use with active noise canceling and Bluetooth active, 15 hours with Bluetooth only or 30 hours with the wireless tech turned off but ANC powered on.

They rock 40 mm Mylar drivers, soft over-ear faux leather cushions and adjustable headband, and there's a built-in microphone caters for hands-free calling when paired with a smartphone.

The first prototype escaped from the lab in January last year and now the company is at the pre-production stage of development, and has launched on Kickstarter to bring the headphones to market. The campaign was funded within 15 hours of starting, and pledge levels start at AU$299 (about US$230). If all goes to plan, shipping is expected to begin in July. The pitch video can be seen below.

Sources: Audeara, Kickstarter

Audeara: headphones that deliver perfect sound, always.

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1 comment
ljaques
ANC and hearing-tailoring is a great combo. Good luck to you, Audeara and Nura.