Flare earHD – A Modern Ear-Trumpet?

Flare Audio announces earHD, a small wearable upgrade to “hear in high-definition”.

Flare Audio has announced the development of a small wearable device that enables users to ‘upgrade’ their ears and “hear in high-definition”.

Like glasses for your ears, earHD takes you on a slightly surreal ‘true audio’ journey according to the earphone company.

Insert the small, non-electric, meticulously designed ear lenses into your ears and take a walk. For the audio-curious, it’s said to be a revelation.

Flare earHD

With no wires or other kit required, a walk in the country can sound more beautiful and a concert more immersive. We are told that some have described the sound as ‘cleaner’. 

Furthermore, independent testing by the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at the University of Southampton, has found earHD to improve speech intelligibility, increase the signal to noise ratio and enhance frequency response.

Flare earHD

Flare founder, Davies Roberts, told GadgetyNews:

We hoped that with earHD we might improve what we hear slightly, but what we’ve got to has really astonished us and the testers. They conducted three main tests, and earHD surpassed all our expectations.

Flare earHD Testing

Data shows earHD to: 

  1. Significantly improve how well we hear the human voice. The speech intelligibility test measured earHD’s performance at how well it can receive the human voice from one emanating source. EarHD took the natural human ear from 0.49 (fair) to 0.64 (good). 
  2.  Increase our ability to hear sound coming from one sound source while reducing external (unwanted) reflected (Also known as signal to noise ratio.)

Test results show that at 8kHz, there was an average signal to noise ratio increase of 19dB while wearing earHD. 8kHz and up is classed as high frequencies. i.e. detail in sound. 

By improving the signal to noise ratio, our harmonic reception is enhanced at this vital frequency, which enhances our sound experience.

Flare earHD

Wearers will notice this in spaces with hard walls where sound reflects chaotically and makes a high-quality sound experience of any kind impossible without wearing earHD. 

  1. Enhance our frequency response from 6kHz and above. Typically, the human ear loses the ability to hear detail in sound from 6kHz and above, particularly as we get older. Things like listening to the tv, birdsong and speech get harder to hear as we age. When earHD is used the 1.5kHz to 6kHz resonance is drastically reduced, and high frequencies from 6kHz and above are boosted, giving you back lost detail.

This is incredibly exciting but what’s even more impressive is that it’s a small non-electrical device.

How earHD works

Because our ears are on the side of our head, they are especially great at determining where sounds are coming from. Handy for hunters to triangulate where their prey is.

The outside of our ear, (the pinna) has evolved to help us do this. However, but what we gain in the placement of sound we lose in definition and sound quality.

Our ears are very good at receiving quality sound from the sides and from devices like headphones, as this sound travels straight into our ears bypassing the pinna.

However, when we put our ears into venues and different shaped acoustic spaces, we suddenly hear sound from all sides, and we need to focus on the sound that is in front of us. 

Ear Satellite Dish

Flare earHD

To receive higher levels of detail from the front, earHD acts like a satellite dish and diffraction shield combined.

By using a precise acoustic lens that focuses sound uniformly into one central location, the sound is accurately reflected straight into our ears. The result is a higher definition sound from where you are facing. The diffraction shield aspect blocks unwanted higher frequencies from outside the desired 60-degree reception window that would have otherwise entered our ears at a much higher level which typically damages harmonic reception.

EarHD features a 60-degree reception from left to right to focus sound coming into our ears.

Simply put: where we look is where we hear in high definition. The sound coming from elsewhere is reduced.

earHD Trials

 A select group of people have been trialing the top-secret prototype.

One is ‘curious mind’ Stephen Fry, who remarked:

I hadn’t realised before that listening is something you can actively do, to the smallest thing. You have to keep taking them (earHD) out to hear the muddied version you usually hear. All I can do is recommend them… (and) I have no reason other than enthusiasm to recommend them to you. They’ve given me a new relationship with sound.

Colour us intrigued.

Price and availability

Pencilled in for delivery June 2020, you can back the Kickstarter project now from £199 which gets you a pair of earHD in aluminium.