Wearables are commonplace now, from fitness trackers to smart watches. They’re more than just technology you can wear, though: A wearable usually has Bluetooth connectivity as well as sensors that track step count, heart rate, and other biometric data. But in the last few years, wearables have migrated — to the ear and to the wish list.
That’s right, you can now wear smart technology in your ears. This kind of device is called a hearable. The market is too broad for any one definition to fully describe what a hearable is, but a good working definition is a wireless in-ear micro-computer. Some hearables are as simple as earbuds that enhance your music-listening experience. Others are hearing aids that double as sophisticated wellness trackers. Below are features you’ll commonly find in different hearables.
- Connectivity. Sync to a smartphone, tablet, or smart home device.
- Biometric tracking. Track your steps, your heart rate, or even your running pace with sensors embedded in the hearable.
- Improved sound quality. Drawing on technology used in today’s hearing aids, you can enjoy noise-canceling capabilities or choose how much environmental sound you want. For example, you can allow just enough noise to ensure you remain aware of traffic.
- Translation. Have a foreign language translated to your native language in real time.
What does all this look like in action? Let’s check out some of the hearables currently on the market.
Listen to music, talk on the phone, and switch between the two seamlessly during your running workout with these wireless earbuds that connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone. They’re sweat and weather resistant and, with the Jabra Sport Life app, you can monitor your pace. These wireless earbuds last up to five hours on one charge, or you can use the rapid-charge feature for when you’re on the go: 15 minutes of charging gives you an hour of battery life.
These wireless earbuds connect via Bluetooth to your mobile device and allow you to listen to music and phone calls — and they translate spoken language in real time! The Pilot translates 15 languages and 42 dialects in natural-sounding male and female voices, provides on-screen transcripts, and offers quick access to a dictionary as well as a phrasebook. Plus, they last up to 20 hours on one charge with the portable charger.
Unlike the Jabra Sport Pace, this one is built for professional athletic training. You can still listen to music, talk on the phone, and switch between the two seamlessly, but the Elite Sport also features better moisture resistance, a heart rate monitor, step count, rep count, VO2 measurement, and hear through, which allows you to determine how much environmental noise to filter out. Plus, with the Jabra Sport Life App, you get personalized audio coaching in real time.
This product is intended for those with a diagnosed hearing loss. These hearing aids stream phone calls, music, and more directly from your mobile devices and offer a rechargeable option. If that weren’t enough, they use integrated sensors to monitor brain and body health. The Thrive™ app tracks it all, provides wellness scores, transcribes conversations so you can read them, and even translates 27 spoken languages. To top it all off, the devices can detect if you’ve fallen and will alert chosen contacts.