“They’re remarkable... (like) the equivalent of a mist or a film being removed between you and things that make a sound...” Stephen Fry
Flare Audio has announced the development of a small wearable device that enables users to ‘upgrade’ their ears and ‘hear in high-definition’.
Like glasses for your ears, earHD® takes wearers on a slightly surreal ‘true audio’ journey, as common sounds are experienced in more detail.
Insert the small, non-electric, meticulously designed ear lenses into the ears, no wires or accompanying units required and take a walk. For the audio-curious, it can be a revelation. Suddenly a walk in the country can sound more beautiful and a concert more immersive. Some have described the sound as ‘cleaner’. How does your voice sound now? How can the sound of gravel under your feet or a bird’s song suddenly be so mesmerising? earHD can have a subtle effect, but in some environments the effect can be dramatic.
And it’s not just an interesting experience. Independent testing by the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at the University of Southampton, has found earHD to improve speech intelligibility, increase signal to noise ratio and enhance frequency response.
“We hoped that with earHD we might improve what we hear slightly, but what we’ve got to has really astonished us and the testers,” reveals Flare founder, Davies Roberts. “They conducted three main tests and earHD surpassed all our expectations.”
Data shows earHD to:
- Significantly improve how well we hear the human voice. The speech intelligibility test measured earHD’s performance at how well it can receive the human voice from one emanating source. EarHD took the natural human ear from 0.49 (fair) to 0.64 (good).
- Increase our ability to hear sound coming from one sound source while reducing external (unwanted) reflected (Also known as signal to noise ratio.)
Test results show that at 8kHz there was an average signal to noise ratio increase of 19dB whilst wearing earHD. 8kHz and up is classed as high frequencies. i.e. detail in sound. By improving the signal to noise ratio, our harmonic reception is improved at this vital frequency which enhances our sound experience. This is especially noticeable in spaces with hard walls where sound reflects chaotically and makes a high-quality sound experience of any kind impossible without wearing earHD.
- Enhance our frequency response from 6kHz and abov Typically, the human ear loses the ability to hear detail in sound from 6kHz and above, this is particularly noticeable as we get older. Things like listening to the tv, birdsong and speech get harder to hear as we age. When earHD is used the 1.5kHz to 6kHz resonance is drastically reduced and high frequencies from 6kHz and above are boosted, giving you back lost detail.
So, we have a powerful combination:
- Improved speech intelligibility
- Increased signal to noise ratio
- Enhanced frequency response
This is incredibly exciting but what’s even more impressive is that it’s a small non-electrical device.
How earHD works:
Because our ears are on the side of our head, they are especially great at determining where sounds are coming from. The outside of our ear, (the pinna) has evolved to help us do this, but what we gain in placement of sound we lose in definition and sound quality. Our ears are very good at receiving quality sound from the sides and from devices like headphones, as this sound travels straight into our ears bypassing the pinna.
However, when we put our ears into venues and different shaped acoustic spaces, we’re suddenly hearing sound from all sides and we need to focus on the sound that is in front of us. In order to receive higher levels of detail from the front, earHD acts like a satellite dish and diffraction shield combined. It uses a precise acoustic lens that focuses sound uniformly into one central location. This focused sound is then accurately reflected straight into our ears, revealing higher definition sound from where you are facing. The diffraction shield aspect blocks unwanted higher frequencies from outside the desired 60-degree reception window that would have otherwise entered our ears at a much higher level which normally damages harmonic reception.
EarHD features a 60-degree reception from left to right to focus sound coming into our ears.
Simply put: where we look is where we hear in high definition. Sound coming from elsewhere is reduced.
“We’ve gone through over 50 prototypes with painstaking levels of attention to detail to get this right,” says Roberts.
earHD can enhance your hearing experience: make your natural environment sound more detailed, clear and possibly more beautiful.
Flare invites listeners to go on an audio journey with them and ‘re-discover sound’.
EarHD may also prove helpful in combatting certain hearing issues. Whilst not a hearing aid - it makes things clearer, not louder - things like listening to tv, birdsong and speech can be harder to hear as we age. earHD has been shown to boost these frequencies, giving you back lost detail.
Where can I use it?
earHD can be used in lots of different scenarios to upgrade your listening experience:
- As an audience member at concerts, gigs or any live music or spoken word events.
- As a musician to better focus and be immersed in your playing.
- Watching television.
- Listening to nature.
- Anywhere you want to focus your hearing and to reveal more detail in sound.
A select group of people have been trialing the top-secret prototype.
One is ‘curious mind’ Stephen Fry, who comments: “I hadn’t realised before that listening is something you can actively do, to the smallest thing. You have to keep taking them (earHD) out to hear the muddied version you usually hear. All I can do is recommend them... (and) I have no reason other than enthusiasm to recommend them to you. They’ve given me a new relationship with sound.”
“Our extensive research in the development of our loudspeakers, earphones and ear protectors has helped us to understand the human ear and how and what we hear,” continues Flare’s Davies Roberts. “We’ve developed some exciting patents that have put to great use within our products, to deliver clean directional sound, and now we are extremely excited to be announcing our latest breakthrough.
We’re launching through Kickstarter, because it’s a unique and exciting (patent-pending) technology. We believe that the enthusiasm shown for new technology and exciting ideas on crowdfunding platforms makes this the best place to launch something as ground breaking and disruptive as earHD. Kickstarter backers are keen to embrace and discover the latest innovations and therefore it seems like the perfect match.”
Once campaign pledges are delivered, earHD will be available to purchase from flareaudio.com.
Full introduction (4 minutes 33 seconds) to ear HD by product inventor Davies Roberts - (big reveal at 2 minutes 40) https://youtu.be/1buDgEOPH_M
60-second video from product inventor Davies Roberts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-83oi7KBbo&feature=youtu.be
Full review (3 minutes 38) by Stephen Fry https://youtu.be/axLGNtiJPRU
34-second video from Stephen Fry on his experiences with earHD. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh3962BrolI&feature=youtu.be
Short (20 seconds) ‘reactions to’ earHD landscape videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUfDT-d48ls&feature=youtu.be
Short (16 seconds) ‘reactions to’ earHD vertical video https://youtu.be/kdYmIN8w7I4
earHD will be available on Kickstarter for early backers at the reduced prices of £199 for the aluminium and £299 for the titanium. The retail prices post Kickstarter will be £299 and £399 respectively.
About Flare Audio
Founded in 2010 by British inventor Davies Roberts, Flare Audio spent its formative years as a pro audio manufacturer and hire company. Flare re-invented the loudspeaker, drawing praise from music industry luminaries including Jimmy Page, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley and producer ‘Flood’.
The company’s big innovation and mission is to minimise all types of distortion and it has developed several patent-pending technologies to achieve this. This ‘pure sound’ technology is now available in a range of award-winning earphones.
In 2016, Flare launched Isolate®, its first sound-reducing product which used solid metal to block, rather than absorb sound. This innovation exceeded all expectations attracting over £2million in crowd funding and was followed up with Sleeep® ear plugs.
Flare now ships to over 170 countries world-wide and has over 2 million likes on Facebook. Despite rapid growth the company maintains a strong customer focus.
Flare’s team is dedicated to rethinking sound technology ‘from the ground up’, pushing boundaries and continuing to achieve exciting developments in audio innovation.