I never thought much about what it would be like to change the way the world around me sounds; if I don’t like the sound of a street musician or the din of a busy shopping mall, I either put up with it or leave.
This week, though, I acquired the superhuman ability to simply adjust the noise to my liking, and it’s pretty great. I’ve been testing out Here Active Listening System, a pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds that work with a smartphone app that uses algorithms to change the way you hear anything from rock concerts to construction noise, with hardly any latency.
Created by a startup called Doppler Labs, Here offers a sort of augmented reality for your ears (see “The Coming Wave of Bionic Hearing Gadgets”). As such, Here is nothing like your typical Bluetooth earbuds or headset. It’s not meant for listening to music privately or making phone calls; in fact, it can’t do either of those things.
What it can do, via the app, is let you swipe to adjust the volume on a conversation you’re having with a friend who’s standing in front of you (or, say, a TV show you’re watching without having to change the sound level for anyone else who’s watching). You can play with an equalizer to fine-tune the bass, mid-range, and treble tones you hear while listening to music, or tap on one of many preset filters to give tunes a specific sound. There are also eight different filters, still in “beta,” meant for eliminating noise in specific situations—on a subway, bus, plane, or office, for instance..
More info here