Those tiny earbuds you bring along with you here, there, and everywhere are causing you to go deaf. At least that’s what audio specialist, and in-ear monitor pioneer Stephen D Ambrose would have you believe. To save you from the dangers of the common earbud, Ambrose and his team at 1964|Adel have created an entire new wave of in-ear headphones designed with patented technology to be safer for your eardrums, all of which are making the rounds in a new Kickstarter campaign.
The link between hearing loss and headphone use being drawn here is not a new one. For its part, 1964|Adel singles out a study from an L.A. Times report which cites an increase in hearing loss for U.S. teens in the last 15 years from 30 to 77 percent. The study in question ruled out ear infections and external environmental factors as causes, pointing instead to the higher prevalence of portable audio players, though it stopped short of specifically laying blame. That said, there are plenty of other studies blaming the blasting of headphones as a major contributor to hearing loss.
But Ambrose argues that hearing loss from in-ear headphones and earbuds, specifically, is different due to the way they isolate the eardrum inside the ear canal. In the video below, Ambrose claims it’s not acoustic pressure (i.e. loud noises) that causes hearing loss, but the pounding of air pressure from the moving driver being sealed inside your ear canal, causing “pneumatic pressure” from the movement of the driver itself.
In response, Ambrose and 1964|Adel have proposed a new way to solve the very hearing loss epidemic Ambrose claims to have helped create with his original in-ear monitor design; four ways to be exact, stemming from four different headphone series. The new headphones employ 1964|Adel’s patented RealLoud Technology, which incorporates a “second eardrum” inside the earpiece designed to take the brunt of the air pressure to protect your real eardrum. The company even claims the design makes audio “sound louder,” requiring a lower overall volume level.
The first, and most affordable solution in the arsenal is the new Adel Control, a modular earphone that allows users to adjust features like bass and external noise to taste, tailoring the sound signature. At time of publication, the Control was still available as an Early Bird special for $100, half off the suggested retail price.
Next in line is the Adel Ambient series, which offers 4 multi-driver models, from the entry-level dual-driver Ambient 2, to the Ambient 12 which (you guessed it) is jam-packed with a whopping 12 drivers per side, labeled the “jewel” of the Ambient line. Pricing for the Ambient series starts at $200 for the dual driver set, and goes up to an impressively (relatively) affordable $500 for the 12-driver version, again, priced at half the cost of suggested retail for each. For reference, the quad-driver Westone W40 will run you the same price as the Ambient 12.
Next up are the 1964|Adel U-series, which take the shape of more traditional in-ear monitors, covering the entire ear canal. The U-series starts with a quad-driver pair for $300 — down from a suggested $500 retail price — and the series goes all the way up to the 8-driver U-series 8, which will run you $720. The latter offers 4 drivers for the bass register alone, with two each for the midrange and treble, to create a massive sound.
Finally, the 1964|Adel A-Series includes both 10-driver, and 12-driver models, priced at $1,000 and $1,200 respectively — 40 percent off the claimed MSRP. Like most top-tier in-ear monitors, the A-series are custom tailored to the user’s ears for the ultimate fit and sound, while harboring a RealLoud secondary eardrum for safety.
Not only is 1964|Adel’s new project already funded, but it has already reached its stretch goal of $350,000, which provides an optional inline 3-button mic piece for all of its headphones. All of the new models are slated for release in May of 2015, with the exception of the A-series, which will be available earlier in February.
While we certainly can’t attest to the claim that RealLoud Technology actually makes these headphones safer, they are priced very competitively under the Kickstarter deal. And hey, if they offer competitive sound in their respective genres, what’s the harm in playing it safe, right? If you’re interested in finding out more, or ordering up one of 1964|Adel’s latest designs, you can do so today at its Kickstarter page.