LAS VEGAS — Headphones have typically had one purpose: to play music, and to do it well.
Beyerdynamic, however, is giving the ubiquitous technology a new function: testing your hearing. I went ears-on with the company's latest cans, the Aventho Wireless, on the CES Showstoppers show floor here today (Jan. 10), and I was surprised by what I heard.
Currently available for $449, the Aventho Wireless headphones look every bit like a premium pair of cans. Constructed in Germany, the on-ear headphones are constructed from pillowy soft leather and metal. They're simple, refined and sturdy all at once. You'll find touch controls embedded in the right earcup.
MORE: Best Headphones
But the Aventhos are more than a pretty piece of tech. Using a free app called MIY (Make It Yours), the headphones administer a quick hearing test in each ear, creating a unique profile using something called Mimi Sound Personalization. If you're in a hurry to rock out, you can simply enter the year you were born, and MIY will create a profile with the approximate hearing profile for your age group.
Created in conjunction with audiologists from Mimi Hearing Technologies, MIY takes your hearing health to the next level, monitoring volume and listening duration. If you creep up on the 60-minute daily headphone limit that the World Health Organization recommends to maintain healthy hearing, the app will warn you with a prompt. Beyerdynamic and Mimi Hearing are so serious about your aural health that they're currently working to get the app certified by the FDA.
With the MIY customization applied, the Eagles' "Hotel California" had a lot more depth and warmth than what the headphones alone offered. It's not that the Aventhos sounded bad on their own — I could just pick up a lot more detail with the app switched on. As far as battery life is concerned, Beyerdynamic claims the Aventhos will last up to 20 hours on a single charge.
I'm looking forward to the chance to put the Aventho Wireless headphones through more rigorous real-world testing, such as blocking out the noise of the New York City subway. But I'm most intrigued by the MIY app and what it could mean for maintaining my hearing, especially if the app gets approved by the FDA. I hope these sonic personalization headphones will usher in awareness about good aural health overall.