New Kickstarter-Funded Headphones Boast a Built-In Hearing Test

Australia-based Audeara today launched a novel set of Kickstarter-funded wireless headphones with active noise-canceling that tailor sound to the wearer’s unique hearing characteristics in an effort to “improve the way people listen to music.”

The first time you put on the A-01 headphones, you use the companion Audeara app to conduct a hearing test, the results of which are used to create a profile that’s stored in the headphones. When music is played, the headphones adjust the frequency response to compensate for the listener’s unique hearing deficiencies.

The company, founded in 2014 by two practicing physicians — Dr. Chris Jeffery and Dr. James Fielding — uses a software interface from the smartphone application to send Bluetooth commands to the headphones, enabling them to generate test tones to ensure consistency across all Bluetooth devices.

The headphones are then calibrated and a baseline is established for accurate audiogram testing. “After the user performs the audiogram, a modulation table is applied,” the company explained, and the headphones use an attenuation model, rather than increasing gain, to adjust incoming audio signals without adding distortion.

Sound is adjusted individually for each ear to make sure “each part of the signal reaches the user’s brain in a way that’s heard as a perfect reflection of the intended signal.”

After the first test, the app isn’t required again unless you want to retest your hearing to update the profile stored in the headphones. The app also displays the audiogram so you can track your hearing over time. In cases where significant hearing impairment is detected, it issues an alert and suggests seeking professional advice and analysis.

The A-01 headphones are collapsible for easy storage in the supplied hard carry and feature 1.5-inch Mylar drivers, an adjustable headband, and soft over-ear cushions. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery has a rated life of 66 hours with noise canceling engaged, 45 hours in Bluetooth mode, and 25 hours when noise canceling and Bluetooth are engaged simultaneously.

“The response from people who use the headphones for the first time is amazing,” said Dr. James Fielding, co-founder and CEO of Audeara. “They’re usually overwhelmed at the difference in what they hear — and they wonder why they’ve been using off-the-shelf headphones for so long.”

Click here for the story behind the Audeara A-01 headphones.

For more information, visit The A-01 headphones are available for pre-order at AU$500 (about $385).