Bose improves noise masking performance for second generation Sleepbuds
Back in late 2017, Bose launched an Indiegogo for a new pair of earbuds designed to help folks get a good night's sleep. The Sleepbuds subsequently went on general sale in the middle of the following year and now the second generation is being readied for direct release.
Bose is of course well-known for its noise cancellation prowess, but the Sleepbuds make use of something called noise masking instead. Though the two technologies work in a similar way, the latter pushes soothing sounds down your ear canals, and the company says that its Sleepbuds II units do a much better job of this than the originals.
"Bose Sleepbuds II use advancements in our proprietary noise masking technology because covering sound – not canceling it – is a better solution for sleeping," said Steve Romine from the company's Health Division. "You can’t duplicate the experience combining earbuds with apps, playing your music louder, or using earplugs and bedside machines – so millions of people are still suffering. We never gave up on helping them, and that’s why we’re so excited about Sleepbuds II. They ‘quiet’ more of the low frequencies found in the biggest threats to a peaceful bedroom – like snoring partners, idling engines, and nearby footsteps. And with new relaxation tracks, they help quiet your mind, too."
The Bose Sleep App now includes three content categories. There are 14 noise-masking tracks that mirror the frequencies of after-dark sleep disruptions, reducing their influence by hiding them in layers of relaxing sounds. Bose has added 15 Naturescapes to help would-be insomniacs calm their minds, and 10 Tranquilities tones are designed to help lower tension and stress.
Some passive isolation is afforded by soft silicone tips, while the soothing sounds are delivered by new transducers that are said to improve on the previous generation's masking of unwanted sounds.
Wearing buds while you sleep can be an irritation, so the new Sleepbuds have been redesigned to cause minimal discomfort, even if you're sleeping on your side with your head on the pillow. They're IPX4-rated for sweat and moisture resistance, an anti-friction coating should prevent any disturbance caused by the housing being dragged across fabric, and there's a new antenna for improved smartphone or tablet connection reliability over Bluetooth LE.
Bose is promising up to 10 hours of per charge runtime from the NiMH battery, with 30 additional hours available via the supplied charging case.
So can the Sleepbuds actually help wearers get a decent night's sleep? We can't say without trying them ourselves, but Bose has called on researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the UCHealth CARE Innovation Center to put its technology to the test. Bose reports that a full complement of study participants confirmed that noise masking was effective "against the common disturbances that kept them up or woke them up." The company further states that 86 percent said that the Sleepbuds helped them to fall asleep easier, 76 percent found it helped them remain asleep once they had dozed off, and 80 percent reported an improvement in overall sleep quality.
Those results certainly look impressive, but it should be noted that the study cohort was small (55 participants aged between 21 and 65), monitoring was a mix of EEG data and self reporting over a short time period, there's no mention of a control group for comparison or of any peer review process being employed, and the whole shebang was paid for by Bose.
If you have slumber troubles and want to try the new Sleepbuds out for yourself, it will cost you US$249.95 a pair. They up for pre-order now, and go on general sale from October 6.
Product page: Sleepbuds II