As we pointed out in our full review, the noise-cancellation in 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 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.”
- Check out our guide to the best noise-cancelling headphones if you want to find out the best way of blocking out the world around you.