Bose's new earphones are the hearing aids you never knew you wanted

As we pointed out in our full review, the noise-cancellation in Bose’s QuietControl 30 earphones is simply remarkable. So remarkable, in fact, that it appears as though Bose itself is repurposing the technology as something resembling a hearing aid. 

The ‘hearphones’, as they appear to be called, are capable of being programmed to only let certain external sounds in. The settings list in the recently released Bose Hear app suggests several different listening modes, including airplane, doctor’s office, gym and television as noted by The Verge.

The technology appears to be based on both direction and audio frequency. Theoretically for the ‘television’ mode this would involve amplifying sound from directly in front of you, while ‘focused conversation’ would amplify the kinds of frequencies that humans speak at. 

Repurposing existing technology

Bose first gave an indication it was looking at using its technology in this way when we spoke to them at the announcement of the QC 30s. 

We asked Dan Gauger, Bose’s Senior Research Engineer, whether he could ever imagine a future in which the user could choose selectively which frequencies to block out. 

“That’s a really interesting question. Could we give a choice? Absolutely, we have the capability to do that. The challenge is to give choice to people that they find useful. You take the vast majority of people and you give them a soundsystem and graphic equaliser and most likely they’ll make their sound system sound worse rather than better.”

Gauger specifically mentioned that he’d already tried using the QC 30 headphones at live music events. “I have had some of my best concert experiences over the past year with prototypes,” he explained, “I can feel the bass, but it’s so loud I can hear my ears distort. I can put in that product and hear it the way I want.”

However, despite the app (which is not compatible with the existing QC 30 hardware) being currently available, and user testimonies currently being posted on Bose’s website, no availability has yet been announced. 

With an event being held on December 15, we’re expecting to hear more information very soon.

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.