Australian firm Audeara has introduced the world’s first headphones with a built-in hearing test to monitor volume levels and protect users’ hearing.
A Kickstarter campaign launched in March 2017 reached its target goal of $460,000 in 15 hours.
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 – which is stored in the headphones’ memory.
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.
CEO Dr James Fielding, said: “The response from people who use the headphones for the first time is amazing. They’re usually overwhelmed at the difference in what they hear – and they wonder why they’ve been using off-the-shelf headphones for so long.”
What makes the Audeara headphones especially powerful is that 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.
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 maximisation 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.
The Audeara headphones are available from £299.99. For more information, click here.