Bose's New Earbuds Double as Hearing Aids

Senior Writer

Headphones and earbuds can destroy our sense of hearing if we're not safe, but Bose is looking to reverse that trend. The company's upcoming "Hearphones" wireless earbuds pack the ability to filter out the sounds you don't want to hear, so you can focus on what's important while blocking out potentially harmful noises.

Image: BoseImage: Bose
Hearphones allow users to adjust the audio they hear thanks to directional microphones built into the buds. Whether you just want to hear the person you're having a focused one-on-one conversation with or the group of people around you at a bar, the Hearphones will let you block everything else out.

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Bose hasn't announced pricing or availability for the buds, but the Hearphones website suggests that the company will reveal more about its unique gadget at a special Dec. 15 event.In anticipation of Hearphones, new versions of the Bose Hear app landed in the Google Play and iOS app stores last week, and show off other features including Bluetooth Audio Boost, which Bose claims will allow you to hear calls, music and podcasts more clearly.

Hearphones will also make it easier to enjoy television or music in a group environment, as you can lower or raise the volume you receive if someone else needs it to be louder or quieter. All of these preferences can be adjusted in the Hear App, which lets you save presets once you've found what works, as well as dial up or down what it calls the "World Volume" and switch between balanced and focused sound.

Image: BoseImage: Bose
One anecdotal story on the Bose site from a user named Susan claims that Hearphones saved a conversation she had with her husband at a normally noisy restaurant. Hearphones, she says, saved their talk from being "strained with any 'what was that?' or 'I didn't get that's," and as someone who already says these things too often, I'm intrigued.

Bose isn't the only player in this game, as Doppler Labs' $299 Here One earbuds look to provide a similar experience. Here One earbuds even offer a step up on the Hearphones, as they're completely wireless, while the Bose pair have a wire that goes between each bud.