What if you could turn the volume of environmental noise up and down selectively? You would be able to hear conversations in noisy places, listen to real-world sounds and media at exactly the setting you'd like, and put an end to intrusive background noise. Bose has quietly announced "Hearphones" to do just that.

According to early product images, the hearphones look like a pair of earbuds connected by a slim piece of plastic worn around the back of the neck. The contained technology seems to combine the amplifying abilities of a hearing aid with active noise cancellation, directional microphones, and smart features.

The tech sounds strikingly similar to Here Active Listening earbuds and their upcoming successors, Here One.

Considered cumulatively, this tech stands to benefit a much larger audience than individuals suffering from hearing loss – it could be used at music venues, noisy restaurants, or even at home to settle disputes about how loud the television should be.

The Bose Hear app in the iTunes store suggests that hearphones will be controlled (at least in part) by the wearer's smartphone or tablet, but Bose has yet to release information about price point, specs, or release date.

Bose is currently offering Hearphone demonstrations at its Framingham, Massachusetts facility on a first-come, first-served basis.

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