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June 03, 2015

Ear Plugs That You Can Manually Mute or Enhance Sounds

Image from KickStarter
Although being funded on Kickstarter is no guarantee that a product will become a success, I sure hope that this Ear Plug called "Here" is as good as it sounds and makes it to store shelves.

Described as an "active listening" device you can control wirelessly with your smartphone, you supposedly will be able to mute out undesirable sounds like a crying baby while still be able to hear all other sounds. OR, enhance certain sounds like the bass of a live music performance.

In essence, these ear plugs can act BOTH as an active noise cancellation OR hearing aid-like device based on the settings you select on your smartphone.

How cool is that?

The app that controls these ear plugs come with presets already installed or you can manually adjust using an equalizer. Check out the screenshots taken off their Kickstarter page:






The only question is will it work as well as advertised?

My suspicion is that it will work... but probably not as good as the dedicated devices it is meant to potentially replace, though to be fair, the developers stress that it is not meant to replace hearing aids, or headphones... rather it is meant to enhance live sounds happening in real-time in the environment.

I may still opt to use my Bose Noise Cancellation ear plugs during plane trips and people with hearing loss will probably be disappointed and still opt to get a dedicated hearing aid... but for those who want some ability to control live sound, these may do just fine.

Doppler Labs, the maker of Here, is seeking to raise $250,000 on Kickstarter. Backers who pledge $199 will get their own Here earbuds when they ship in December 2015. Otherwise, the list price will be $249.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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