Nuheara likes to call itself the “smart-hearing” company, and today it’s unveiling its most advanced hearing buds to date. The IQbuds2 Max use active noise cancellation and neural network-based personalization to fit the wearer’s “soundscape.”
Consumers can preorder here from today. The company announced the new “hearable” earbuds at a press event for CES 2020, the big tech trade show taking place in Las Vegas this week. These are the kinds of hearing devices that could double as audio listening earbuds and hearing aids, particularly for younger folks who don’t mind wearing conspicuous earbuds.
Nuheara cofounder David Cannington acknowledged in a statement that there are hundreds of wireless earbuds on the market. But he said the hybrid combo of active noise cancellation with tight noise controls, as well as the personalization features, make Nuheara unique. It’s also why the company is targeting a relatively high-end price of $400 when it starts shipping the product in March. That is, it’s a high price for wireless earbuds, but it’s a low price for hearing aids, which typically cost in the thousands of dollars when sold through audiologists.
Nuheara redesigned the IQbuds2 Max from the ground up with its latest acoustic technology, which enhances normal hearing and allows users to fine-tune their sound environment. With three microphones, these earbuds qualify as hearing aids, under the definition offered by the American Association of Retired Persons, because they “can automatically suppress sounds users don’t want to hear, like chatter from across the room, and many are equipped with directional microphones to pick up sounds directly in front of the wearer.”
Nuheara’s EarID technology and speech in noise control (SINC) provide wearers with customization and control over their personal hearing experience so they can enjoy music, conversations, or silence, as they wish.
CEO Justin Miller said in a statement that the Perth, Australia-based team made some hardware and software breakthroughs this year that enabled them to bring the IQbuds2 Max out sooner than expected. Engineering enhancements include better drivers for improved sonic accuracy and design features that fit more processing power into a comfortable earbud.
IQbuds2 Max features include:
- Personalization — Nuheara’s EarID technology uses a convenient mobile app to assess a wearer’s hearing and automatically calibrate the buds to their personal hearing profile. EarID uses the clinically validated NAL-NL2 hearing test — a neural network-driven system that optimizes the hearing augmentation engine to the user’s personal preferences. This provides research-grade hearing customization without the need to visit audiology specialists. The neural network technology in EarID (available both in IQbuds BOOST and IQbuds2 Max) uses machine learning to calibrate and personalize the buds to the wearer’s unique hearing profile.
- Hybrid active noise cancellation — With ANC, IQbuds2 Max uses three microphones to analyze and process sounds both inside and outside the ear. Advanced filtering circuitry creates cancellation waves in the ear to reduce distracting sounds and in-ear occlusion. With the tap of a finger, users can block external noises. Working in combination with SINC, this feature delivers a premium dual noise-isolation experience for unparalleled noise mitigation and control.
- Situational sound — Nuheara’s proprietary Speech in Noise Control (SINC) adds unique sound controls for each situation. With SINC, wearers can quickly toggle their earbuds to the most comfortable noise settings for their location — muting background noise and enhancing focus on their direct conversations in a noisy environment.
- Advanced digital signal processing — The IQbuds2 Max triple-core DSP system delivers optimal hearing fidelity and reduces occlusion for natural enhanced sound in a hearing bud. IQbuds2 Max have a 450 million instructions per second (MIPS) signal processing engine in each earbud.
- Sonic accuracy — A large 9.2-millimeter dynamic driver with vented acoustical design provides sound fidelity. This improves sound quality, especially bass, which can be an issue with smaller earbuds.
- App syncing with iPhone and Android — Nuheara’s user-friendly apps allow full control of the listening environment, including noise reduction and hearing processing. Users can adjust hearing preferences from the app and receive future developments and upgrades.
- Intelligent controls — Smart sensors provide intuitive tap-touch and gesture control for a better user experience.
- Water and sweat resistant — All of Nuheara’s products are designed to maximize compatibility for an active lifestyle. Your sweat won’t zap your ears.
The IQbuds2 Max also include a magnetic charging case that promises up to 32 hours of on-the-go hearing enhancement and 20 hours of Bluetooth streaming. Compatibility with Bluetooth 5 offers faster transfer over a longer range.
IQbuds2 Max replace the previously announced IQbuds Max. The IQbuds Boost came out in August 2018 and also use the EarID technology.
Nuheara was founded in 2015 and it has raised $28.6 million to date. It has 45 employees, mostly in Perth, Australia. Nuheara launched its first generation of IQbuds in 2017, and it unveiled its IQbuds second-generation product in 2018.