BeHear Now Can Improve Your Hearing (MSRP $249.00)
Providing Classroom Resources on New & Emerging Technologies
Copyright © 1996 - 2018 Dr. Alan J. Pierce
You are welcome to print material from this website for use in your classroom.
Photos 1 and 2 - These digital hearing aids look like and double as a good pair of wireless earbuds.
Photo 4 - You can control all functions using the W&H BeHear App that should be available in both the Apple and Android stores. .
Photo 5 - The app's hearing test lets you customize your hearing experience to best compensate for your own hearing loss
The BeHear Now earbuds look like a normal set of Bluetooth wireless buds that you would use for your smartphone or tablet to listen to your music and make phone calls. They do all that quite well but their outstanding feature is they are also a decent digital hearing aid. The engineers at Alango Technologies, in Israel, designed this wireless headset so its built-in microphones and in-ear speakers can boost the sounds of your environment to improve your hearing. This is a fantastic feature if you are somewhat hard of hearing or just find you often can’t hear what is being said in a large lecture hall. See photos 1 and 2.
To turn these earbuds into a digital hearing aid, the sound engineers developed algorithms that can process all the environmental sounds that the microphones pick up. On the plus side these sounds could include the conversations of the people around you, the statements of a lecturer, the audio from your television, the music from a live concert, and on the negative side the microphones also pick-up all the extraneous sounds that make it difficult for you to hear what is important. The algorithmic processing of the built-in software in the headset working in conjunction with the W&H BeHear app for you smartphone, decreases the background noises to enhance the clarity of what you want to hear. For smartphone calls the sound and software engineers created an EasyListen ™ function that can actually dynamically slow down the speech of the person talking to make is easy for you to understand the conversation. To help you customize your hearing experience to match your own hearing loss, the smartphone app includes a built-in hearing test. See photos 3 and 4.You download the app from the Android or Apple Play Stores. When this review went to press the Apple app was not yet available.
Reason’s to Drool
Since their design uses already existing Bluetooth and earbud technology they were able to create a digital hearing aid and sell it at a very reasonable price. They will work as a digital hearing aid with or without the use of a smartphone. My wife, who does have a slight hearing loss, has been testing them for a few weeks and has found that they do improve her hearing. She found it extremely easy to use the app to increase volume or switch between the BeHear Now one click presets for indoor, outdoor, crowd, and live music which were all instantly customized after she took the W&H BeHear app’s hearing test. See photo 5 again.
Not So Cool
The app has a tendency to switch itself off for about 5 seconds every minute or so and then automatically turn itself back on. The manual (<http://wearandhear.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/BeHear-NOW-User-Manual.pdf>) indicates you can stop this by turning off all your smartphone’s alerts and notifications which is something most people probably won’t want to do and I was not able to stop it from happening regardless of what I shut off on my Samsung Note 8. This doesn't happen when you use the headset without it bluetooth connected to your smartphone. Common to all hearing aids you also hear what you are saying at an increased volume. It is important that you let people know you are wearing a personal sound amplification product so they don’t think you are being rude wearing your earbuds while out to dinner or on a date. They are not waterproof.
**** Warning the W&H BeHear App was not yet available for Apple when this review went to press. If you are an iPhone user make certain that the app is listed in the Apple app store before purchasing.