Personal music players have liberated us from the home hi-fi system and made music mobile. But there is a downside, particularly for younger listeners. According to the World Health Organization, over a billion young music lovers risk hearing loss by exposing themselves to unsafe volume levels when grooving on the move or having a good time at noisy bars and sporting events. The Aegis Pro headphones from 16-year-old Kingsley Cheng are designed to ensure that audio output never strays above a safe level, while also promising optimum sonic quality.
BAE Systems is in the
process of developing bone conduction technology for use by soldiers
on the battlefield. The helmet-based system will leverage the same
basic technology as that found in commercial bone amplifying
headphones, and should have the effect of allowing soldiers to hear
comms over the loudest battlefield noises.
Although the ability tends to wane as we get older, the human auditory system is pretty good at filtering out background noise and making a single voice able to be understood above the general hubbub of a crowded room. But electronic devices, such as smartphones, aren't quite as gifted, which is why getting Siri or Google Now to understand you in crowded environments can be an exercise in futility. But now researchers have developed a prototype sensor that’s not only able to figure out the direction of a particular sound, but can also extract it from background noise.
Many activities, such as operating heavy machinery, enjoying loud concerts, or shooting guns at a range, generate harmful levels of sound. Ear protection reduces such noise to prevent long-term damage, but it can be difficult or inconvenient to adjust the volume when one needs to hear "normally." One of the latest forms of protection attempts to solve this dilemma with a design that allows more or less sound to pass through with the push of a button. We get some ears-on to see how well the ProSounds X-Pro ear plugs differentiate themselves from the field.