Twenty-sixteen is shaping up to be a remarkable year in the evolution of wireless audio technology, sometimes called hearables. Last January, Starkey Hearing Technology announced a strategic partnership with the hearable company, Bragi. During the year we saw a slew of wireless earphones enter the market, including one from Resound’s sister company, Jabra, the Here One from Doppler Labs and the Apple Airpods. Although some of these wireless products claim to use hearing aid technology, the year may be ending with a real game changer, as the consumer audio giant, Bose, quietly began piloting wireless amplified earphones that double as true personal amplification devices.
Company In Pre-Launch Phase
Recently, Bose announced on a company website they were conducting a series of hands-on demonstrations where consumers could try their new product. Utilizing their patented noise cancellation technology, the new Bose wireless earphones, which look like their QuietControl30 wireless earphones, are in what Bose described as a limited launch and are being sold to a small number of customers who attend the demonstrations at their headquarters in the suburban Boston location.
According to Bose’s research scientist, Dianne Van Tasell, the new Bose wireless earphones, which rely on multi-microphone beamforming to reduce noise, are designed to allow users to amplify voices they want to hear, while tuning out unwanted background noise. Early trials, according to Van Tasell, have shown the new earphones to be particularly effective in places where people engage in conversations with high amounts of background noise, like a cocktail party or crowded restaurant. In addition to the multiple microphone array and noise cancellation technology, the new product allows the user to adjust several acoustic parameters with a smartphone-enabled app. (The app is an updated version of the Ear Machine amplification app some professionals are familiar). The smartphone app is paired to the earphones and allows the user to adjust gain, treble and microphone patterns for both ears. Users can also make many of these adjusts with discreet switches found on the neckband.
Bose Personal Amplification Device
The Bose personal amplification device, called the Hearphone, is reported to have about 10 hours of battery life before it needs re-charging. It also functions as a noise-cancelling wireless earphone for listening to music and talking on the telephone. Eunice Youmans, marketing specialist for Bose believes the target market for their new product will be adults with difficulty hearing in background noise.
Bose Corporation is a private corporation based in Framingham, Massachusetts . It was founded in 1964 by Amar Bose. Known for its noise cancelling headsets and Wave radio, Forbes magazine estimates Bose’s total revenue was $3.5 billion and employed nearly 12,000 people in 2015. According to Youmans, Bose has more than 155 retail stores in the US and another 110 international locations. Bose products are also sold through their website (Bose. com) in airport kiosks, big box stores and other places.