Hearing products have come a long way in the past few years. Not too long ago, hearing products were very specific technology (aka hearing aids) with a specific look, feel, and behavior. They were controlled by a small number of companies that required a doctor's appointment, a fitting, and a lot of money - often thousands of dollars. But, for most people, they were still uncomfortable and signaled that they were "old." But now, technology companies have entered the fray and created new products that address the hearing problem in exciting ways. The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus is a new entry that aims to improve conversations in loud environments.
For many people, the problem with hearing isn't about volume, it's about context. Being able to hear in a private environment can be easy, but hearing in loud environments, such as CES itself, can be a challenge. The problem with traditional hearing aids, though, is that they generally amplify sound indiscriminately. So, if your issue is that you cannot focus on the voice of someone speaking to you in a loud environment, traditional hearing aids are going to make it worse, not better.
On the other hand, being able to use complicated algorithms to control volume and equalizer settings, you can amplify local sound while filtering out distant sounds. This means that you would be able to hear conversations with people who are close to you, or close to the headphones, without having to try and mentally filter out the rest of the noise in the room.
Sennheiser is known for its audio technology. Whether it be the handheld microphone we use for our interviews or the headphones we use to monitor the recording, Sennheiser makes a lot of audio products. In fact, a lot of the audio equipment we use for our events outside of the studio is from Sennheiser. This is because of the reputation they have for quality.
With that, they have taken their knowledge of mics, headphones, and equalizers and put them into the Conversation Clear Plus. This product is a hearing product intended specifically to help those who have trouble differentiating local and distant voices. It is accomplished by using a small microphone array to listen to the environment and make live adjustments dozens of times per second. By sampling and adjusting so frequently, the device is able to make transitions between volumes and settings less obvious and more natural.
The best part is that they do not look like hearing aids. Instead, they look like regular Bluetooth earbuds. This can help people who are worried about hearing aid stigma feel more comfortable wearing them in public. Plus, they actually can be used as Bluetooth earbuds, so it's not even that far off.
The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus is available now for $850. To learn more about the product or the company's other audio products, including headphones and earbuds, head over to the brand's website.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.