I have been taking the Nuheara IQbuds Boost earbuds and IQstream TV streaming “gateway” for a spin and I am impressed.
I have used the previous version of IQbuds before and I really liked the twist on noise cancellation that turned these smart earbuds into a half-step towards hearing aids. I did feel however that a big let down was the strength of bluetooth that would mean drop outs if I put my phone in my hip pocket.
That has all changed with these new earbuds. The bluetooth connectivity is outstanding and allows me to wander to an adjacent room without losing signal.
This teamed up with well designed management software on your smartphone , better noise processing and the option to “tune” the earbuds to your hearing by performing a hearing test or calibration on setup delivers an earbud that improves on the already solid original.
My first big test was comfort. Other earbuds tend to hurt or chafe my ears but their lightweight buds and gel/foam-wondercompound was comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time.
Next was a plane trip from Perth to Singapore. The active noise cancellation did a great job at drowning out the noise and the “plane” noise profile negated the hiss and rumble while allowing me to still carry on a normal conversation and pay attention to the safety briefing (and order drinks).
Lastly I took the earbuds to the gym where they stayed snugly inside my ears while I rowed, lifted and jumped around and sweated profusely.
Of course these earbuds also work great for calls with the built in microphones picking up my voice as well as any other bluetooth headset.
The big feature with this class of earbud (aka hearable) is it’s ability to amplify and filter frequencies that can make listening to conversations around you easier. This trick really shines when teamed up with the IQstream TV.
The IQstream TV is a curious little box that connects to your TV audio output and the audio input of your soundbar, home theater setup or audio input for your TV which effectively inserts itself into the audio path for your TV.
When you pair this device with your smartphone (a simple NFC tap) it then pipes the TV audio direct into your IQbuds Boost earbuds while still pushing sound through the normal speakers. What this means is that you can now hear the TV better through the IQbuds Boost while also being able to pick up conversations around you (or not if you turn on noise cancellation) and notably with other bluetooth this was able to process and retransmit the audio WITHOUT LAG! This in itself is a big deal if you have tried to stream bluetooth audio from a video source because with lesser devices the delay between what you see and what you hear makes you feel like you are watching a poorly dubbed foreign film.
So what about the assistive hearing?
It works well. For someone who claims to have good hearing it was able to amplify my surrounds well without becoming overwhelming. Speech and normally hard to hear sounds were boosted and other louder sounds were kind of dialed back a bit. A solid performance like the original IQbuds with improved filtering.
These are bluetooth connected, active noise cancelling, hearing augmenting, smart earbuds and good ones at that. So yeah.. These are not your kids Apple Air Pods and at $649 only the best behaved kids will be getting a set of their own.
These are indeed a step towards hearing aids that would cost thousands of dollars so if you are indeed finding yourself slighty hard of hearing in some cases this might do the trick and with a 30 day guarantee that you will be hearing better within minutes, you really have nothing to lose.
The IQstreamTV is a separate item and if you are getting the IQbuds Boost then this would be a good item to get also if you enjoy watching videos either in peace (without disturbing others) or being able to hear the dialog along with the rest of the room. At $139, this is not a bad add on for the IQbuds Boost.
I really enjoy these earbuds and find them at their best when travelling or listening to audio while staying aware of my surroundings.
You can visit Nuheara here.