AccuVoice speaker makes TV dialogue rise above the noise

Soundbars have become popular in recent years in part due to the declining quality of speakers that come with TVs. After all, today’s flat-panel TVs tend to be so thin that there is nowhere to put good-quality speakers anymore. That’s especially a problem for older TV viewers and others with hearing difficulties.

patent-claimedAccuVoice is a TV speaker from audio device manufacturer Zvox that goes a step further than one of its soundbars. That’s because AccuVoice has been specifically designed to help people with hearing loss hear dialogue from whatever show or movie they’re watching on TV. The aluminum speaker is only 17 inches wide and about 2.5 inches high and is simple to hook up because it only has one connecting cord.

Health and Wellness Music

RealLoud heaphones protect your ear from cranked-up tunes

Our parents always warned us about listening to our music too loudly, but the rebels within all of us never listened, preferring to instead crank it up to the max to enjoy our music. Loud music that crackles in your ear and almost hurts is good after all, right? Well, as much as we might have enjoyed the albums of yesteryear, the increased use of earphones due to the MP3 revolution has clearly shown the auditory consequences of these practices. Unfortunately, the headphone industry has responded to this criticism with larger, louder, and bassier headphones that compound the problem.

The increasing number of both teens and adults with mild to severe hearing loss caught audio legend Stephen D. Ambrose’s attention and he, along with his company Asius Technologies, has created RealLoud Technology as a result. The product reduces harmful pressure experienced by wearing ordinary headphones using bio-mimicry, or the imitation of nature through technology, to include a built-in secondary eardrum to absorb them for you. As a result, louder, more complete sound is produced by eliminating the pressures associated with unnecessary noise, even if actual volume is technically quieter overall. This is the crux of the RealLoud Technology, and the key behind the entire series of 1964|Adel headphones.

Three lines of headphones incorporate the RealLoud Technology. The Ambient line is for casual audiophiles and features up to 12 drivers, the U-Series is an over-the-ear headphone with up to eight drivers, and the A-Series feature up to 12 drivers and are custom to your own ear impressions. With price points ranging from $100 to $1,600, there are options for everyone, all estimated to be delivered between February and May of 2015. The campaign has a funding goal of $200,000.

It’s about time solutions are created for the problems caused by the consumer market itself, and although the 1964|Adel headphones have a pretty high cost of entry, their development is a sign that the technology is being thought about. Soon, they’ll trickle down and hopefully become standard across the board. The cheek is too often turned in the name of profits, and although here profits are still had, at least it’s propped up by actual innovation.

Health and Wellness

iseewhatyousay seeks to ease communication with deaf and hearing-impaired

The Premise. Hearing loss is an issue that affects 10% of the world population, and it remains a significant barrier for human communication. Often times, hearing loss comes later in life, and it can thus be a difficult obstacle to overcome having not learned sign language.

The Product. The iseewhatyousay is a small and simple device that makes it easier for people with hearing loss to communicate in a one on one conversation. Currently available only for Android users, the iseewhatyousay is a speech-to-text reader that displays the text of a conversation to person with hearing loss. The person speaking holds down a button within the iseewhatyousay app on their phone, and it shows up on the screen of the device almost immediately. The goal is to make conversation smooth and effortless.

The Pitch. On the Kickstarter page, little is mentioned about what the device actually does or how it works. There’s a video that shows the creator and his father having a conversation with a prototype of the iseewhatyousay, but that conversation seems slow and labored.

The Perks. The iseewhatyousay is relatively cheap at only $50, with an expected delivery of July 2014. There are options for those who want to help produce these devices with contributions in the thousands.

The Potential. The iseewhatyousay has the best intentions in mind and the product’s eventual small form factor could be an advantage, but this product faces significant hurdles. The creators have not yet created a refined product ready for mass production and the product’s featured could be handled and far surpassed by the cheapest of used smartphones, There are countless of other speech-to-text devices available, and there are certainly alternative and more effective solutions for people with hearing loss.

Health and Wellness

iHear brings down the cost of hearing help

The Premise. The acoustics of life shouldn’t require a lofty price. Yet, what most of us take for granted as just another sense is a commodity that others don’t have access to due to a hearing disability. A high quality hearing aid is very expensive, and it’s a barrier that keeps one in five Americans from buying hearing aids that dig deep into their wallets.

The Product. Regardless of whether you use an iPhone or iPad, the iHear is a comfortable hearing aid that delivers crisp and clear sound. It’s waterproof, completely invisible to outside viewers, and can be adjusted to have a perfect fit within your ear in less than a minute. It offers everything that a person with a hearing disability needs, but can do so at the fraction of the cost. The low price/high quality combination makes this hearing aid much more accessible to the average consumer, and thus it gives access to sound to a much larger percentage of the population with a hearing disability.

The Pitch. Both the Indiegogo campaign and the video show that iHear is truly passionate about making hearing aids more affordable. The creators go into depth about what is included, and how customers know that they’re getting reliable hearing aids. Supporting the mission of iHear are the stories of testers who have already changed to the hearing aid. They echo the sentiment of supplying a cheaper competitor for high quality sound delivery.

The Perks. iHear gives plenty of opportunity for anyone to support their campaign and the effort to give access to hearing to more people. The iHear HD can still be claimed at its early bird price of just $149, but the hearing aid will then be priced at a reasonable $200. For those who don’t have a hearing disability, there are plenty of ways to get involved. iHear also has a philanthropic campaign of trying to deliver 1000 hearing devices for free. Pledgers can donate $10 to that cause or pay $379 to get two hearing aids for you and two hearing aids for a person in need.

iHear has also developed a PC-based hearing test that can be administered that is available at $49. Lastly, for those looking to support iHear, you can pick up earphones designed for your smartphone and MP3 player for just $39. It’s currently anticipated that the iHear devices will start being available in August 2014.

The Potential. iHear Medical has a product on its hands that means all the best for improving the lives of people with a hearing disability, but the question is whether or not people without a hearing disability are willing to pledge. iHear still needs to get FDA approval for its products, and then the task will be to challenge the six companies that control the market for these medical devices with higher-priced product.