Wear & Hear is the brand name for a line of concept, future-looking wearable audio devices that are being developed by Alango Technologies, Ltd. With millions of communication products using proprietary algorithms and software, Alango has accumulated more than 15 years of practical experience developing and licensing digital sound processing technologies working in noisy, reverberant and otherwise unfriendly acoustic environments.
The World Health Organization estimates that between 14-16% of the world’s population (that’s approximately 1.2 billion people) suffers from hearing loss of greater than 25 dB. Also, even though hearing loss is typically associated with old age, the majority of sufferers are under the age of 65. The alarming fact, however, is that less than 5% of those with hearing loss use hearing aids! Research points to five main reasons for the low uptake of traditional hearing aids:
- Denial: In many cases, hearing loss comes on slowly, almost imperceptibly. It is typical to blame others and circumstances for poor hearing (my partner has started mumbling, background music is too loud, cell reception is poor, etc.). On average, it takes a person from 7-10 years to visit a professional after the first signs of hearing loss.
- Stigma and Inconvenience: Hearing aids are visible medical devices associated with elderly and/or handicapped people. They require repeat visits to a hearing professional for testing, fitting, fine-tuning, and cleaning.
- Extremely High Cost: Top-of-the-line devices are sold for $3000-$5000. Furthermore, they are not covered by most health insurance policies.
- Limited Functionality: Hearing aids provide mainly hearing amplification, and most units are not connectable to today’s modern communication devices (smartphones and music players, for example). Furthermore, traditional hearing aids were designed to amplify the frequency range of human speech (300-5000Hz). As a result, many sounds (like those in nature, and live music) are not addressed.
To address the needs of the tremendous population of those with hearing loss who choose, for whatever reason, not to use a hearing aid, Alango Technologies set out to create a line of multifunctional, high-performance, affordable assistive hearing products, leveraging recent technological and manufacturing advances. The result is its Wear & Hear line.
The first product, BeHear® NOW, is a stylish personal hearing product. It looks and functions like a Bluetooth® stereo headset, but also includes ambient hearing amplification. It is fully customizable, using the results of a built-in hearing test that can be performed with the assistance of a hearing professional, or self-administered.
BeHear NOW uses similar digital signal processing technology found in hearing aids, such as noise reduction, multichannel compression, feedback reduction, and more. It improves the overall hearing experience when conversing in person, watching television, listening to live music, or just going about daily activities. It uses multi-microphone technology to feed intelligent algorithms that cancel out unimportant noise. The result: improved intelligibility of spoken language.
BeHear NOW heralds a new era of hearing enhancement wherein stylish, affordable, always-connected wearable audio devices deliver clear, natural, customized audio and voice directly to your ears.
For more information about BeHear NOW and other assistive hearing products in Alango’s Wear & Hear line, visit www.WearAndHear.com.