A pair of earbud-shaped hearing aids could help people with hearing loss understand their own hearing loss better.
A new hearing aid from Audient Hearing Aid will allow people to hear when they’re wearing earbouts and to talk to their friends while wearing earbands, a new patent filed this week by the startup claims.
Audient says the device would use a “high-performance audio codec” to transmit audio signals from earbout to earband and vice versa, allowing for “optimal communication across a wide range of devices.”
The hearing aids would have “a single interface, allowing a user to connect directly to their hearing aids,” according to the patent, which was filed last year.
Audients could also make and receive phone calls using the device, and the hearing aids “could have the ability to be turned on and off,” according the patent.
“The device is said to provide the ability for a user with a hearing impairment to listen to their own voice while wearing an earboud,” the patent states.
“When the user is wearing an audio headset, they will hear the sound, but will be unable to hear any information about their own health condition, or the health status of their partner.”
It’s unclear how long the device could be used, or if it would be able to be used in a permanent way.
Audience Hearing Aid is described as a “multi-purpose hearing aid” that has a built-in microphone and can also be used to control a smartphone.
The company has filed for a patent that could be granted this month and it could be available for $299 to $299, according to CNET.
The patent describes an audio codec that can send audio signals and send audio data, and an interface to control the audio codec and the phone app.
The microphone would also be able “to receive voice commands from the user, including gestures.”
The patent also describes the ability of the device to be worn over a phone’s earpiece, but it’s unclear if the earbun is a headphone or earbucker.
Audents could also be using the earplug to listen while wearing headphones, as they’re not “toxic to the ear.”
“The user would be using a head-mounted speaker to receive voice communication and to make calls to and from friends,” the filing says.
The hearing aid is described in the patent as having a flexible, soft earband that is made of a plastic material that can be worn on the ear.
“There are multiple user interfaces that can interact with the device such as the earpiece,” the patents states.
The device is described to be a “single interface, enabling a user who is wearing a hearing aid to listen and talk to friends while using an earpiece.”
“A user could connect directly from the device’s interface to their earbod to receive notifications from their earphone’s microphone,” the document states.
Audiences could also use the device “to control the device and the smartphone app.”
The filing says that the device can also function as a headset.
“Using the device for a call, audio could be transmitted to the phone or a Bluetooth speaker,” the description states.
This is “not intended to provide an explanation of how the device functions,” but “it is intended to give an overview of the technology and to describe the various interfaces used by the device,” the filings says.
For example, the hearing aid can “send and receive voice communications to the device or a speaker,” according a description on the company’s website.
The filing notes that “the device’s interfaces can be used for controlling a wide variety of devices including mobile phones, wearable computers, speakers, and other electronic devices.”
In the filing, Audient lists a range of features, including: a flexible earband, which can be customized to fit any headband, including the headband of a Bluetooth earbinder, a speaker, a mobile phone, and headphones; a microphone to receive speech commands; and a microphone for sending and receiving audio commands.
The “speaker” would be “a microphone used for speaking to other users via a voice command interface.”
The microphone could be connected to a computer or smartphone to be able send and receive data, according the filing.
“A communication interface can also provide the user with the ability and ability to control audio and audio recording devices from their computer or mobile device, such as microphones or a receiver,” the website states.
A user can control a speaker using a “speakers microphone” and then send voice commands.
This could be an example of “a user with hearing impairment” using the hearing-aid device to make a phone call.
The application says the hearing device could also send a data stream to a phone or other device, with the user controlling the microphone to hear the data.
“With the communication interface, a user can send or receive data via the microphone,” it states.