Our world is filled with noise. With streets, blaring TVs, and washing machines using a jet engine’s decibel output, the sound is an omnipresent force in our lives.
We escape the sound, literal or figurative, differs from person to person. Some like a fantastic book, others a silent walk – and many more like to pop up in a pair of their preferred earbuds, stick to a few jams, and allow the hours roll by.
But with more time plugged in comes another issue — the threat of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Roughly put, this can be damage caused to the inner ear with prolonged exposure to elevated levels of noise when worn in particular through earphones like the Apple AirPods because of their proximity to the inner ear.
While hearing loss is related to advancing age, younger people are also threatened.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around a billion young men and women are at risk of NIHL, with almost 50% of teenagers and young adults, in particular, being exposed to dangerous levels of sound from personal audio apparatus.
On Hearing Loss, action clarifies these dangerous levels of noise as being more than 80bB with headphones having the ability to produce far more than this — so what can be done to help protect our hearing health, whether old or young?
If young people are at risk, then the problem is particularly acute for children listening unsupervised, explains Dr Michael Stone of the University of Manchester.
“The main risk is with earphones, a few of which are capable of providing substantial sound levels at the base,” he informs us.
“The portability and long battery life of the tech means we can listen for long periods. Your ears are as an athlete: they get tired by the exercise, so frequent short rest breaks out of listening may slow down the rate of damage accumulation,” he adds, pointing out that such noise exposure leads to NIHL over many decades.
“Very few youngsters believe that they (or a part of them) will shortly be old. Therefore there’s a psychological, in addition to a peer-pressure, barrier to taking preventative steps. They would like to live in the’here and now’ rather than the’ here and then’.”
Spreading the message
That there are so many at-risk signifies the challenge is two-fold. There’s a lack of awareness of the growing dilemma of NIHL globally while dangerously loud headsets pose a problem in themselves.
Nikki Russell, such as most a teenager, was fond of rocking out in, keeping the world. Until she could hear somebody talking at the side of a table with time, the issue of NIHL started to manifest. She lives with the problem, and it is her story that was the inspiration behind her father, founding Puro Sound Labs, electric engineer Dave Russell.
Their approach to the issue of NIHL is an interesting one: in addition to advocacy, they create a line of headsets that are noise-limiting, which so far have primarily been aimed at kids. This isn’t space, many competing options exist upon the likes of Amazon, along with the possibilities particularly have been demonstrated to have restricted efficacy, if any at all.
In launch also the Puro Gamer and the Puro Pro, both cans puro is currently taking an unusual step nonetheless. The Gamer is a conventional wired gaming headset with a microphone.
Retailing for $200 (roughly #200 / / AU$280), the Guru are advertised as restricting volume to 85dB (the maximum for secure listening) and arrive with 2 degrees of flexible active sound cancellation (ANC). This functions to block outside noise, meaning that the listener does not need to boost the volume to contend with whatever they are bothering.
The headset, on the outside, certainly feels and looks the part. It’s sturdily constructed, goes for’business-chic’ in its layout and arrives in a wooden box, going the entire hog. Its sound is pleasant, and the volume limit certainly feels nothing like a compromise — 85dB is more than sufficient to get a groove on if 120dB is the amount of the rock concert.
The sound is neutral genres with ease. It has the sparkle for classical, the bass for rock, the attack for punk and the punch to get hip-hop, with energy. Given the emphasis that the provider offers to its proprietary’Balanced Response’ tech, this is hardly a surprise. This aims to provide a precise listening experience even at lower volumes, not utilizing levels that are louder as a crutch.( sound is an omni)
The ANC is less potent than what’s offered from the best noise-cancelling headphones in 2020. It works nicely to remove more distant noise, such as roadworks, but it and sounds somewhat closer — and as will fight those.
Based on our expertise, the Puro Guru will likely deal satisfactorily with an average commute on public transport (although our testing of this has been significantly affected by the Covid-19 lockdown). It’s a decent showing.( sound is an omni)
A mountain to climb
The issue of NIHL in people is not just a lack of consciousness or other options in the current market, as alluded to by Dr Stone; it is a matter of perceptions. Whether’adults’ will wish to restrict their experience in any way intentionally is the question which only time will answer.( sound is an omni)
Over-ear headphones from brands from budget to superior, come with sports features that are appealing and also varying degrees of ANC. Whether the Puro Guru does enough to stand out will directly impact the fortunes of the company in this region, as a little player with a relatively USP is no small challenge entering.( sound is an omni)
But the struggle is rewarding, and it is not possible to tell from a product perspective as well as their eyesight. They may limit volume, but maybe not their aspirations.( sound is an omni)