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Tech Talk Tuesday: Hearables vs. Wearables

Have you been filled in about the newest ‘hearable’ technology hitting the shelves in 2015? Tune in to this Audicus tech talk to see the latest news!


Wearables, or smart technology you can wear like a piece of jewelry or clothing, are steadily increasing in popularity as different companies take to manufacturing them. Activity trackers like pedometers can measure the distance you run or walk. The Smartwatch, which may replace the iPhone in recent years to come, is just one of many up-and-coming innovations that are worn on the wrist.


However, there is also a steadily increasing market of hearables, smart technology that functions by being placed on or in the user’s ear. Ears can process information faster than the eyes. It takes only a thousandth of a second for a person to process auditory data compared to one fiftieth of a second for visual data.

Unlike many wearables including the Smartwatch, hearables are discrete rather than bulky and carry a lower risk of being dropped and breaking. Hearables contour to the ear in such a way that they may appear invisible to others. Sound can be a very useful application for different technological innovations, including features that transfer information about body temperature, blood pressure and oxygen levels.

Not Just Your Grandfather’s Earbuds…

Earin, a company that uses the world’s smallest wireless earbuds, has already shown us that hearables can be accommodating in a wide variety of settings. The Earin program comes with Bluetooth technology and an app that can be downloaded on the Android or IOS.

The Dash is another hearable that is prided on being the world’s first set of in-ear headphones that function wirelessly. Equipped with a touch-sensitive surface and Bluetooth technology, the Dash can track your body temperature, running speed and even calories burned.

Back in August, Intel collaborated with rapper 50 Cent to create earbuds that monitor the user’s health parameters, in addition to playing music.

Hearables and Medical Capabilities

Advances in hearing technology can also be seen in the medical field. Sonification, a technique that was developed in 1908, is currently being used at the Birmingham City University in England to analyze the characteristics of cancerous cells by sound. Healthy cells and cancer cells have different sound profiles that can be detected just by listening.

Hearables may seem like a foreign concept at first, but in reality we rely on many devices that utilize noise. The telephone calls, ear buds and other features that come with an iPhone utilize sound, and everyday technologies of old such as alarm clocks, car horns and ambulance sirens are directly related to sound.

The hearable market is expected to have accumulated 5 billion dollars by the year 2018. The promising rise of hearables in the tech industry comes as no surprise, as we already know that hearing aids are experiencing a massive leap in their capabilities.

Hearing aid microsystems, devices so tiny that they can fit inside an ear without being felt or visible by the user, have recently become available to the public. Additionally, hearing aids that are modeled after efficient auditory systems in animals like moths and locusts are also underway.

By: Aaron Rodriques

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