You don’t have to be hearing impaired to lose parts of conversations in noisy bars, restaurants, and even some workplaces. Bose has announced Hearphones, personal hearing assistance earbuds that combine active sound cancellation with directional microphones so you won’t miss a word.
The Hearphones’ earbuds attach by wire to a reverse collar. The collar contains a 10-hour rechargeable battery, device power button, and Bluetooth connection and battery level indicators. You can pair Hearphones via Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) to mobile devices for streaming audio and for phone calls.
A control pod on the right earbud wire has the main volume controls, “World” volume controls, and a multifunction button for additional controls when listening to streaming content and phone calls. The World volume level adjusts the ambient sound level up or down. You can set the Hearphones listening direction to Focused for individual chats, Front for talking with a group, or Everywhere for omnidirectional sound pickup.
The Bose Hear app adds additional functionality to the Hearphones, enabling you to use app settings to customize the sound and create app presets for various sound environments. Rather than having to fuss with direction, main volume, and ambient sound levels, the ability to tap presets for different settings will add to the convenience, as long as you have your smartphone or tablet with you. You can also use the Bose Hear app to mute one earbud, which could come in handy if you want to talk to the person on your right completely unbothered by a conversation between people on your left.
Bose has not announced the Hearphones’ price or availability date. Since the company has already sent a user manual to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), however, odds are you won’t have to wait too long if you’re interested. The Bose Hearphones will inevitably be jockeying for market share with Human Inc.’s Sound, scheduled for release in July 2017, and Doppler Labs’ Here One, originally expected this holiday season but now shipping in February 2017.