Audeara (www.audeara.com) has released what it says is world’s first full fidelity headphones with an in-built hearing test.
Over the past two and a half years, Audeara has grown from a medical device company to a commercial business dedicated to improving the way people listen to music. Audeara headphones can be used to test and retest hearing over a lifetime and adapt music to the users’ individual needs.
The first time the headphones are worn, the user completes a hearing test – the results of which, are subsequently stored in the headphones themselves. The headphones use this hearing profile to adjust the sound signal as it passes through them. They adjust the right ear differently from the left, making sure each part of the signal reaches the user’s brain in a way that’s heard as a perfect reflection of the intended signal.
All the technology is inside the headphones themselves. After the first test, the app isn’t required again unless the user wants to retest. This means headphones are no longer passive magnets for signal conversion, instead, they’re sophisticated tools for personalised sound reproduction.
The $2.99 Audeara headphones use a software interface from a smartphone application to send Bluetooth commands to the on-board printed circuit board (PCB). This allows the headphones themselves to generate the tones and maintains consistency across all Bluetooth devices.
The headphones are calibrated and the profile is used as the baseline for accurate audiogram testing. After the user performs the audiogram, a modulation table is applied. This adjusts all incoming musical signals to the user’s requirements. Using an attenuation model, rather than increasing gain, ensures maximization of the overall signal intensity, without distortion.
With the modulation table stored in the on-board PCB, the user only has to test once for the headphones to apply that table to any Bluetooth signal source. The user can, however, test multiple times, and the software application stores numerous profiles that are then uploaded and stored as the active profile.
The result of the audiogram is displayed for the user, perfect for long-term tracking of any hearing loss, and also as an educational tool in preventing long-term hearing impairment. If the user’s hearing profile shows significant impairment an alert will be shown, which suggests they seek more specialist advice and analysis.
Sometimes the change is enormous, other times it’s subtle, but it’s always there. Audeara understands that every person hears differently and every person hears differently in each ear, and the Audeara headphones tailor the sound for each person based on these two principles.