Wear & Hear is introducing a new BeHear device that will be more attractive as a hearing aid alternative to many consumers. The new BeHear Access should be available in September and it builds upon the success of the original device. In essence, it is a very similar device with a new re-written app, tweaked digital signal processing and one other very important departure, it has a telecoil onboard. That is an interesting addition and I think it will make the devices far more attractive to many people who are looking for an alternative to hearing aids for situational use. Let's take a look at them.
BeHear® Access is the new personal hearing device for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, or for those that need enhanced hearing in specific situations from Wear & Hear. BeHear Access functions as a Bluetooth headset with advanced capabilities, personal sound amplifier and, when paired with a transmitter, as an assistive listening device. While it can be used in a standalone mode, it is also tunable and customizable from a smartphone.
As with the BeHear Now, the product looks and functions like a Bluetooth® stereo headset. However, the BeHear Access also includes fully customizable hearing amplification and noise reduction for live conversations, mobile phone calls, music play, and ambient sounds. The new device comes with a convenient magnetic charging cradle so you can keep it charged and ready to go with ease.
Clarifying Speech, Reducing Noise & A Telecoil
As with the other devices from Wear & Hear, the BeHear Access clarifies speech (and if needed during mobile phone calls, slows it down), and enhances music. Unlike the other devices, the headset also includes two telecoil receivers to deliver optimal sound in locations fitted with induction loop technology.
That makes the devices quite attractive, in particular to American consumers where there is a resurgence in loop technology. A resurgence driven by grass-roots activists and the Hearing Loss Association of America. The device represents a cheaper alternative to traditional hearing aids and for some, it is an option that they feel beats the stigma.
Self-Administered Hearing Assessment
As with the other devices, the BeHear Access comes with a free smartphone application (downloadable from Google Play or Apple Store) that can be used to administer a simple hearing assessment. The device uses the assessment results to automatically adjusts voice and audio input controls to suit your hearing levels.
The device also automatically creates various listening profiles based on the listening environment (indoors/outdoors, crowded/sparse, etc.). You can also fine-tune these profiles at any in the app to better suit your needs.
As with other BeHear devices, the Access allows you to stay connected to your environment while listening to music. With ListenThrough™ sound enhancement technology, you’ll be able to listen to music and engage in your favourite activities while remaining alert to important ambient sounds.
BeHear Access also helps improve your hearing comprehension while talking on the phone or listening to voicemail. EasyListen™ technology slows down speech to improve the intelligibility of “fast talkers”, foreign languages, and recorded messages. This is a fascinating feature and it works really well.
You can also pair the new BeHear headset with the Hearlink transmitter for streamed audio from any audio source. BeHear pairs with the HearLink™ TV transmitter to send the television’s audio signal directly to the paired headset, eliminating ambient noises, room reverberation, and other types of sound interference.
We spoke to the team at Wear & Hear and they say that the new DSP tweaks make the devices sound even better. They have also re-written the smartphone app to deliver a better experience based on feedback from existing customers. As I said, the BeHear Access should be available in September and we are going to get a device for testing purposes. As things progress, we will let you know our experience and the cost of the devices.
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