Conventional earphones can become a liability you are out and about on city streets by limiting your ability to hear approaching vehicles or other potential hazards. That’s where the earHero comes into play. It’s an earphone system designed not to block the ear canal so that users are still be able to hear what’s going on around them.
Designed by audiologist Matt Murphy, earHero incorporates two tiny speakers, one of which slides into each ear canal. A retention device attached to each speaker sits inside the bowl of the ear, to keep it in place. Because the speakers are so small, they don’t occupy the entire width of the ear canal, reportedly allowing outside noises to still be heard and, because they don't seal the ear, are said to help prevent hearing loss over time. However, this might also mean that it’s easier for other people to hear the user’s music.
The earphones are the result of seven years of market research and while we can't vouch for the sound quality, the makers of earHero claim that it is quite comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Two versions are available – the earHerosport, and the stealthier earHeropro, aimed more at security personnel. Both models sell for US$149.