Esteemed Audiologist Reviews Wear & Hear Solutions
Hearing education blogger suggests BeHear NOW as an alternative to traditional OTC hearing devices
♦ A.U. Bankaitis, PhD, is a clinical Audiologist with extensive clinical, research, and business experience within the hearing industry. She recently reviewed Wear & Hear products in her hearing education blog.
After describing its many features, and highlighting the EasyListen™ technology which slows down speech during mobile calls, Dr. Bainkaitis writes:
The customization offered by BeHear NOW may be appealing to adults pursuing an alternative to traditional OTC devices. The established retail price of $249 is very reasonable given the functionality offered by the device.
April 2019 Newsletter
Are Hearables a Fit for Audiologists?
♦ Oaktree TV Clip Discusses Why Hearing Professionals Should Consider Wear & Hear ♦ New Assistive Hearing Blog Launched ♦ Point-by-Point Comparison Between Bose Hearphones and BeHear NOW Published ♦ Visit Wear & Hear at HLAA in Rochester, NY ♦
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Dutch Customer Weighs in on BeHear NOW Personal Hearing Device
Veteran In-ear Hearing Aid User Reviews Assistive Hearing Solution
♦ Having struggled for some time with an in-ear hearing aid, I noticed the BeHear NOW headset. The problem with the in-ear system was that earwax (which seemingly I produced more than usual) quickly clogged the small speakers. Also, using many throw away batteries did not appeal to me. Changing to small rechargeable batteries solved that partly but not fully.
I did hesitate to switch to a hearing band [form factor] but this was overcome as I could make use of a trial period.
The BeHear NOW headset is a kind of multi-function device. Apart from acting as a hearing aid, one can also use it a hands-free mobile phone or as one’s private speaker connected via Bluetooth (without -noticeable- transmission delay).
As a hearing aid, one has to match the required amplification over the frequency range which is easily done via the app. The nice thing is that one can “cheat” though that is -of course- not advised.
Once properly set, the app is not needed, so it will work stand-alone.
When losing the Bluetooth transmission, the device will give you a notification. Same when you are back within range. No hassle of pairing again when momentarily going out of range.
I was pleasantly surprised by the good quality when using it as a Bluetooth headphone playing music via a tablet. The volume controls worked nicely.
Just some notes:
The band uses a battery which is charged via micro usb.
There is a microphone in each of the control boxes.
There is a microphone in each of the earpieces.
Be prepared to play with the settings.
And, enjoy this headset!
How to Know if BeHear NOW Suits Your Level of Hearing Loss
Have you invested in hearing aids, only to discover that they don’t suit you in every situation? Maybe they’re too uncomfortable to wear all day, or they don’t really help you at the theater or during a live concert? Perhaps they help amplify sound, but they don’t help you understand mobile phone conversations, or hear the dialogue on the television very clearly?
In these cases, you may be interested in trying BeHear NOW. This assistive hearing headset is not a medical device. Instead, it uses advanced sound processing technology, housed in a Bluetooth stereo headset, to enhance what you hear — whether it be live conversations, dialogue on the television, mobile phone calls — when you need it.
So, how do you know if BeHear NOW would be right for you? We’ve created a small library of sample audiograms showing the instances in which BeHear NOW could be helpful. If your audiogram matches one of the samples in our library, we encourage you to try BeHear NOW for yourself. We have a 30-day return policy, so if you’re not satisfied you simply return the product and get your money back.
Library of Sample Audiograms
What to Do Now
If you found a match…
If your audiogram resembles any of the samples above, go to our on-line shop and purchase a BeHear NOW headset. Once you receive it you should go to the Google Play Store (for Android phones, version 4.4 and up) or the Apple Store (for iOS, version 9 and up) and download the free “W&H BeHear” app. You’ll use this app to pair your phone to the headset, and input the values from your audiogram (in the “Personal Info” section of the app). Once you finish, the headset will be updated automatically with custom parameters reflecting your hearing levels for the three hearing modes (ambient hearing, Bluetooth audio, and mobile phone calls). You can further customize the hearing presets (Indoor, Outdoor, Crowd and Live Music) in real-time using the app. View our library of “How to…” videos to learn how to use the headset.
If you didn’t find a match…
We invite you to send us your audiogram and we will help determine if the BeHear NOW might be able to enhance your hearing.
Better Hearing is Now Within Reach – Part 3
How is this Concept Different from the Conventional Solutions?
Our first personal hearing product, released commercially in the Fall of 2018, is called BeHear® NOW. It is a stylish, comfortable, high-quality Bluetooth stereo neckband style headset that can be used to listen to music or make phone calls. In addition, it can be used to enhance ambient hearing, very similar to or better than hearing aids. Its retail price of $249 ( €249) makes it very attractive to a wide population.
What About Sound Quality?
BeHear NOW has four microphones, two in the earpieces and two in the control boxes. Using four microphones enables unprecedented sound quality for both ambient hearing and voice communication. The headset features two 13mm hi-fi speakers delivering uncompromised sound. It includes a large rechargeable battery allowing the wearer to use its ambient hearing amplification during an entire day without recharging.
The Difference is in the Sound Enhancing Software
BeHear NOW can be used as a standalone hearing amplifier, but its true value comes with its software. It pairs with a dedicated, free smartphone application called W&H BeHear for iPhones and Android that enables full control and self-adjustment of the headset. When the personal hearing mode is activated, the wearer can choose the most suitable preset (Indoors, Outdoors, Crowd or Live Music). S/He can change noise reduction settings from low to maximum depending on the environment.
Fine Tune the Device on Your Own
One of the problems with hearing aids today is that they require professional fitting in an audiologist’s office. Given the large number of people who suffer from hearing loss worldwide, it should be apparent that there are not enough audiologists on earth to provide hearing aids to everyone who needs one, especially in rural, distant areas. With BeHear NOW that is not an issue. Wearers can modify the spectrum of the sound they hear in real time by moving their finger on a grid to locate what we call the Best Sound Point. The Best Sound Point is a highly personal definition, depending on the wearer’s preferences, capabilities, and current location!
Furthermore, the W&H BeHear application contains a simple hearing assessment that anyone can perform and get immediate results. This is not a medical procedure, of course, but when completed, all BeHear NOW sounds will be modified to fit the wearer’s own personal hearing profile.
Advantages That People With Normal Hearing Will Also Appreciate
BeHear NOW also includes some advanced features that may be useful for people with normal hearing as well. For example, many people have trouble with fast speech. We all prefer that the other person speak slower when we need to write down a phone number, understand a foreign language, or are otherwise being distracted. BeHear NOW can do it automatically. When BeHear NOW is used to make or take a phone call, the wearer can activate a special mode called EasyListen™ to slow down speech and improve understanding. While listening to music, the wearer can activate ListenThrough™ technology. Nearby human voices, the noise of an approaching car and other important or alarming sounds will pass through while ambient noise will be blocked, allowing him/her to enjoy the music to the fullest.
Great Potential for Improving Quality of Life
The Wear & Hear line of assistive hearing products is highly innovative, leveraging two successful concepts (consumer electronics and sound technology advancements). The resulting solutions have the potential to improve quality of life for millions of people worldwide. As Helen Keller once famously remarked, when asked which sense was more important, vision or hearing: “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.” We want the world to sound better to all. With the aid of our personal hearing devices, people can reconnect socially, without the stigma or high cost of a medical hearing aid.
What’s Next? Feedback and Market Education
The first members of our Wear & Hear family of personal hearing devices are ready for purchase, here on our Web site, and through our international partner channel. However, the market needs educating. There are about 400 million people with disabling hearing loss who desperately need a solution, but they have no idea that there is a high-quality alternative to hearing aids. Our concept of affordable, stylish, multi-functional hearing enhancement solutions needs to capture the attention of both the hearing impaired and those who can help us bring them to market. Can you help?
Better Hearing is Now Within Reach – Part 2
This is the second installment of a 3-part series. If you haven’t yet read the first installment, you can read it here.
An Unorthodox Approach Brings Hope
The development trend for hearing aids throughout history has been to make the devices smaller and less noticeable. We, on the other hand, wanted to make our hearing enhancement devices stylish, and even fashionable. Instead of making them expensive medical devices, we wanted to make them affordable consumer electronics devices. In addition, we wanted our devices to be high performance and multi-functional. And finally, we wanted our devices to act as hearing protectors by reducing loud ambient noises to safe levels.
Consumer Electronics Can Serve a Wider Purpose
We chose a Bluetooth headset as a basic form factor for our hearing enhancement device concept due to its ubiquity. Its cost of goods is low and public acceptability is high. In order to transform it into a powerful hearing enhancement device we first investigated its existing components, and found:
- At least one microphone. In many Bluetooth headsets we can find a dual microphone, something relevant to high end hearing aids only.
- A high-quality speaker that is much better than that of hearing aids, due to their size limitations.
- A Digital Signal Processor that is 4-5 times more powerful than that of most of hearing aids.
- Bluetooth connectivity present only in the latest, greatest and most expensive hearing aids
- An environmentally friendly rechargeable battery
The Missing Component: Hearing Enhancement Software
That means that there is only one important piece missing to transform ANY Bluetooth headset into a powerful hearing enhancement device. This piece is software. Just do it, and you have exciting news for more than 1 billion hearing impaired people world-wide. Since we are a software sound processing company, we did it! We created a licensable software reference design that makes it possible to add hearing enhancement functionality to virtually any Bluetooth headset. We call our solution Hearphones™.
In order to be sure that our solution was good, and that it really could help hearing impaired people as well as or better than hearing aids, we decided to go one step further. We decided to create our own brand of concept products that we call Wear & Hear, with our slogan “Hearing On Demand”.
How Does this Approach Compare to Conventional Solutions?
In the next post in this “Hearing Better is Now Within Reach” blog series, we’ll compare this unorthodox approach with the conventional solutions.
Better Hearing is Now Within Reach – Part 1
The Need, the Conventional Solution, and the Despair
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 15% of the world’s population (that’s around 1.2 billion people!) suffers from hearing loss of greater than 25 decibels. Even though hearing loss is typically associated with old age, the majority of sufferers are under the age of 65. It is well known that hearing loss is a terrible experience for an individual and has multiple consequences. Children with hearing loss are likely to experience delayed speech development, impaired communication and reduced cognitive skills. In adults, hearing loss has been linked to poorer job performance and, as a result, lower salaries. In the elderly, hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of dementia, falls, depression, social isolation and loneliness. These problems impose a heavy financial burden on the society.
There is good news, though. Research shows that 95% of hearing impaired people can be helped by hearing amplification. The solution that jumps to mind immediately is hearing aids. Hearing aids have a long history: from hearing trumpets used over 100 years ago, through the development of the first wearable electronic devices, to the modern era of small, digital devices of various styles. Yet, hearing aids are used by less than 20% of hearing impaired people in developed countries, and less than 3% in low income countries. Why?
Why Aren’t More People Using Hearing Aids?
- Extremely high cost. A pair of hearing aids costs between $2000-$8000 dollars. Unless it is fully covered by insurance, it is not surprising that most people hesitate before buying them.
- Social stigma. Justified or not, people feel that wearing hearing aids will make them look older or handicapped. It is interesting that this feeling does not actually depend on the age. Many elderly people refuse to wear hearing aids. We all want to be young.
- Limited functionality. We’re used to multi-functional electronic devices that can do much more than just their main functionality. Smartphones are a classic example, but we have others, such as: radios, smartwatches or fitness bracelets. Basic, reasonably priced hearing aids can only do voice amplification.
- Performance. 20% of people who buy hearing aids return them. Although they are badly needed, these devices don’t help them. 17% of those who decide to keep their hearing aids are not satisfied.
What Can Be Done to Surmount These Obstacles to Better Hearing?
In the next post in this “Hearing Better is Now Within Reach” blog series, we’ll look at an unorthodox approach that addresses all four of these obstacles to bring hope to those experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss.
February 2019 Newsletter
Give the Gift of Better Hearing
♦ Alango CEO Interviewed at CES ♦ Leading U.K. Charity for Hearing Loss Rates BeHear NOW ♦ Oaktree Products to Distribute Wear & Hear Solutions in North America ♦ Visit Wear & Hear at AAA in Columbus, Ohio ♦ BeHear NOW Showcased in Israeli Innovation Exhibition ♦
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Oaktree Products to Distribute Wear & Hear
Leading multi-line distributor of products and supplies to the hearing industry in North America partners with Alango to offer personalized hearing devices to hearing professionals
♦ Alango has signed a distribution agreement with Oaktree Products (“Oaktree”), the leading multi-line distributor of products and supplies to audiologists and hearing professionals. According to the agreement, Oaktree will sell Alango’s “Wear & Hear” line of personal hearing devices via their catalog, online store, and specialty channels in North America.
Assistive Hearing Products Form New Hearables Category
To address the needs of the millions of people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss worldwide (who are not currently benefiting from hearing aids), Alango has incorporated its field-proven digital sound processing technologies into a line of affordable, wearable consumer electronics devices that provide personalized hearing enhancement to the wearer. The result: a new product line under the brand name “Wear & Hear”.
Leading Provider of Clinical Hearing Supplies Connects Professionals with Solutions
“Amongst hearing professionals, the name Oaktree represents a competent resource for a wide variety of quality hearing supplies,” states Dr. Alexander Goldin, CEO and founder of Alango Technologies, Ltd. “We are excited to partner with Oaktree to bring our unique Wear & Hear solutions to hearing clinics in North America. We believe audiologists and other hearing professionals will appreciate the opportunity to offer the Wear & Hear alternative to clients who are not ready, for whatever reason, to use hearing aids.”
“In addition to clinical supplies, Oaktree Products has been involved in offering audiologists and other practitioners a wide scope of communication solutions beyond traditional hearing aids,” states Bob Kemp, founder and owner of Oaktree Products, Inc. “Wear & Hear is a product line that represents a viable option for adults who need some help but are not quite ready for regular hearing aids. One feature it has that is totally unique, is the ability to slow down speech on the phone, which could help a lot of people.”
Hearables Line Combines Alango Sound Enhancement Technology with State-of-the-Art Consumer Electronics
The Wear & Hear line of stylish, affordable, always-on, always-connected wearable audio devices is designed to enhance user’s hearing and deliver customized, crystal clear and pleasantly natural audio and voice directly to an individual’s ears.
The first member of the Wear & Hear product line, BeHear® NOW, is a multi-functional, high-performance, low-cost alternative to traditional hearing aids. It is a truly personal Bluetooth headset featuring advanced signal processing with self-fitted ambient hearing enhancement and assistive listening capabilities. After a simple hearing preferences assessment performed via an intuitive smartphone application supporting both Android and iOS devices, all sounds (ambient, phone calls or music) are customized for the wearer.
HearLink™ is a Bluetooth transmitter that connects to the standard analog audio output of most audio devices or television sets. It sends the audio signal directly to the paired BeHear® NOW headset, thus eliminating ambient noises, room reverberation, and other types of sound interference which hamper intelligibility of speech and music appreciation.
About Oaktree Products
Established in 1992, Oaktree Products is the leading multi-line distributor of products and supplies to the hearing industry. Oaktree Products offers everything beyond the hearing instrument to audiologists and other hearing health care professionals with over 4200 products for use in the clinical environment. (https://www.oaktreeproducts.com/)
About Alango Technologies, Ltd.
Alango Technologies, Ltd. (www.alango.com) has been developing sound enhancement technologies since 2002, selling over 40 million software licenses that improve the audio experience in automotive, entertainment, and smart home applications around the world. Realizing the importance and opportunity of combining the sound enhancement technology found in hearing aids with the advances and costs in the consumer electronics world, the Company is now using its field-proven expertise in sound technology to create products for personal hearing enhancement: the “Wear & Hear” product line (www.WearAndHear.com).
December 2018 Newsletter
Give the Gift of Better Hearing
♦ BeHear® NOW & HearLink™ Will Benefit You and Your Family ♦ Blogger Compares BeHear Now to BOSE Hearphones ♦ See us at #CES2019 – Sands, Health & Wellness Marketplace ♦ Roadmap Revealed: Upcoming Assistive Hearing Product Releases for 2019 ♦
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