How’s your hearing lately? Connect Hearing Australia estimates that one in six Australians are affected by some degree of hearing loss, and by 2050 this number is expected to jump to one in four Aussies thanks to increased exposure to loud noise in our everyday lifestyles.
While we’ve certainly come a long way from the original trumpets used as hearing aids and loudspeakers on gramophones. Whether they be hearing aids or sound protection, there’s still room for improvement when it comes to hearing devices.
You might have caught our blog on IndieGoGo projects to keep an eye on. Thanks to IndieGOGO, a crowdfunding website where the public can choose to put up funds to support the projects they like, the next generation of hearing tech coming from entrepreneurs and engineers is coming to life. We’ve rustled up a selection of extraordinary ear-gear that’s already met its funding goals and reached the prototype phase, so you can expect to see them on the market in the future!
Olive: The next generation of hearing aid
There are two big concerns with hearing aids today: high costs and social stigma that can make the wearer feel self-conscious, particularly with bulkier designs. The team at Olive Union seek to combat this with the Olive, an affordable hearing aid that looks just as sleek as the latest wireless earphones. While the bill for the current generation of hearing aids can easily run into the thousands of dollars (especially if you don’t qualify for a subsidy) the Olive will retail for just a fraction of that cost. It uses Bluetooth technology to pair with an app on your smartphone that will help you test your hearing and customise your settings so you get the clarity of hearing that you need.
Knops: A volume control for real life
It’s important to take steps to protect your hearing as early on in life as possible, particularly with the rise of personal audio devices such as iPods and smartphones. For people working in noisy environments, however, it may be a matter of their surroundings. That’s where the Knops come in; a set of stylish ear plugs with an adjustable dial so you can control how much sound is coming into your ears with four easy settings; Clear Sound, City Noise, Live Music and Isolation. Don’t let their sleek look fool you – these devices are actually completely analogue with no batteries or companion apps needed (gasp!). So if you want to protect your ears, or improve your focus by tuning out some distractions, Knops could be a sound investment (pun intended).
ADEL: Earbuds made bionic
Earphones with the volume turned up too loud are a serious risk to your hearing health, so what can be done to keep our ears safe while still enjoying amazing sound quality for our music? Well, the team at Asius Technologies say you won’t have to choose between your hearing and your music, thanks to the ADEL™ bionic earbuds. They’re boasting unprecedented audiophile-quality sound combined with a range of impressive features to make them as comfortable and ear-friendly as possible. Most notably, each buds comes with a patented Ambrose Diaphonic Ear Lens (ADEL™), which are thin membranes designed to absorb the harmful air pressure caused by wearing earphones. These top-of-the-line earbuds can even be adjusted to let in sounds from your surrounding environment, which is perfect for work or travel when you need to stay alert.
SoundBrake 2.0: Stay alert with any earphones
If you love listening to music but you worry about not hearing important sounds like alarms, doorbells or even just someone trying to get your attention, then the SoundBrake 2.0 is definitely something to add to your wish list. Designed to connect seamlessly to a standard audio jack, this little gadget will keep an ear out for you while you listen to your tunes. It takes a brief sound sample of your surroundings and then if any sounds come in louder than expected, the SoundBrake 2.0 will instantly stream the sound to your earphones so you can hear it, too. So for example, you can tune out the dull roar of a café but then if someone breaks a glass, you’ll know about it. It even works with Bluetooth headphones!
Which one of these technologies would you keep an ear out for? Tell us in the comments.