|Nura "wireless, hearing-correcting headphones"..................................................................|
Nura came to Kickstarter last year with the goal of funding a pair of headphones that would adapt to every listener and improve the way they heard music. The company was looking for $100,000. It ended up getting $1.8 million and then going on to raise much, much more from venture capitalists — an additional $7 million, according to Crunchbase. Now, a year and a half after the company’s debut, it’s finally preparing to ship that original product: the Nuraphones, a $399 pair of wireless, hearing-correcting headphones.
Kyle Slater, Nura’s CEO, compares what the Nuraphones do for your ears to what glasses do for your eyes. They’re supposed to figure out which frequencies of sound you’re good at and not so good at hearing, and then mess with the amplification so that you hear every song precisely how it was mixed. “We assume that we all hear the same,” Slater says. “Hearing offers no point of comparison like vision does."
The Nuraphones test your hearing by playing a pattern of high frequency tones into your ears when you first put them on. A microphone then measures how strongly the sounds bounce back, indicating whether or not you’re actually hearing them. Using that information, Nura creates a profile for you that’s built into the headphones and will automatically amplify sounds your ears aren’t great with, supposedly tweaking playback so that that those tones come across as loud as they’re supposed to.
It’s a really smart idea, and the science behind it makes sense. But it’s hard to say whether Nura actually accomplishes what it sets out to. I’ve been listening to a pair of Nuraphones for a few days now, and I think they sound really good. The headphones do a great job of separating instruments, and in some songs, they absolutely made certain instruments easier for me to hear. They tended to create a sort of 3D effect in some songs, making the instruments sound like they’re all around me.