Rearia Hai modular Bluetooth earphones suitable for all hearing aid users

Found these ear phones which are also suitable for cochlear implant users as well.

They say they’ve got rid of the telecoil buzz.

Think they work on Bluetooth. I’m hoping I can use 1 x ear phone and 1 x hook for my HA.

Still trying to work out exactly what they offer.

EDIT - You can’t buy it yet, boo!

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The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is now live, with more details. From what I can make out it offers:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Telecoil neckloop with some kind of buzz reduction
  • A pair of earbuds with separate 3.5mm sockets allowing you to use one or both instead of the telecoil
  • A microphone allowing you to use it as a phone headset
  • An app allowing you to personalise the equalisation to match your audiogram

Delivery isn’t scheduled until March 2021 and the cost is reasonable though more than I’d want to spend on a speculative purchase, especially having developed my own solution (Listening to music and podcasts - a solution).

It would be interesting to hear anyone else’s take on this. My main reservation is that my aids (NHS standard issue Oticon) are very poor on mid to low frequencies (not sure whether that’s the aids themselves or the coupling offered by the domes) so I’m doubtful whether the neckloop would be any good for music in my case. And I have to presume the app is available in both iOS and Android versions, but this isn’t stated.

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Hi @philip.leriche creator of Hai here!

Yes you are right, tbh the bottleneck of music sound quality is user’s HA/CIs.

Tho, my partner, also co-founder of Rearia, while we were in the early stage of development, he’s so surprised that our built-from-scratch T-coil streamer can perform outstanding high res sound, even slightly better than his Compilot!

Rearia Hai supports standard audio protocol (A2DP) with Bluetooth 5.0 so that it can definitely stream music from iOS and Android.

Feel free to AMA!

Thank you @kevinphy for your reply. I assumed Bluetooth connectivity would be universal, but what I was concerned about was the app which is apparently required in order to adjust the response to match your audiogram when using the earbuds. Are you committed to provinging both iOS and Android versions of that from day one?

@philip.leriche That’s also yes!

We’ve already had proof-of-concept SDK which can update EQ from both Android and iOS to Hai. Adjusting EQ profiles from smart phone to SoC is with the highest priority in our roadmap. It’s a main function on our app.

Actually what we want to ask for help is that we are also looking for more app feature idea (like audiogram update, tracking, or even mapping to music genre…) from heavy music listener!

I noticed just few points on EQ (6 or so?). Having better granularity throughout the whole spectrum I think would help to all variety of hearing losses.

HAs most commonly focus on 1-2k and then they toot their horn about how much up they go, but it’s in big steps after 2k up to cca 8-9kHz and then cut. Starting at around 150Hz.

So far I’ve seen only max 20 adjustment points but with a big caveat - you cannot really change them, because they’re all connected to so called prescription formulas, be it from manufacturer, or NAL-NL2 or or DSL 5 as most commonly used ones.

Btw compensation for our loss isn’t reverse of the audiogram, but prescription that’s given by those formulas (they take into account various things, including audiogram).

However, all these formulas are focused on people wth high frequency hearing loss.

Regular headphones with more gain work for people with more horizontally looking loss. That’s why you’re going to hear them saying how regular headphones work fine for them, better than HAs for music, because they have bigger speaker and are made for music, after all.

However, there’s zero things for cookie bite losses and reverse slope losses and any other exotic ones, since they’re rare. We don’t even have formula, and are considered really hard to fit.

Rare means that there’s some numbers about ‘one in several thousand’. Or ‘I saw this 6 times in my life as a fitter’. Or from currently active members here I’m the only active one here with RSHL and I think I saw one cookie bite.

But even if they/we are rare, since no one is thinking about us, having gadget we could adjust to our loss, and I mean really adjust, would be a game changer.

So, give 200Hz steps or so from 400Hz up to 5-6k (speech is I think 1-4k, I guess singing goes higher, check), and cover from 20Hz to 16kHz (lower end 50hz steps, higher maybe 400-500), and add portable microphone and you’ll have better HA than bunch on the market :joy:

Music is definitely more dynamic than ordinary speech, and they differ a lot between genres.

No HA works with that afaik.

Of course, you could have normal (with 6 handles) and advanced (with all of them) view for EQ.

Only reason why I didn’t bought your gadget as a solution I was looking for as a person with unilateral hearing loss is because expected release is mid next year, and I want/need to hear now, and I’m buying two HAs instead of one because I couldn’t find other (convenient) solution. Plus they should work better together, but that I didn’t manage to test throughly yet.

And I saw that people say that tcoil sound quality is inferior to BT (not because of buzz but also in ideal conditions).

However, if you think about offering BT (one ear) + wire option (second ear), think about latency. It’s horrible :joy:

There’s a ‘solution’ of roger select iN for marvels plugged in a mic+audio splitter and additional mic works the best. Buy you need bunch of wires, very specific HA and roger tech is proprietary. It can be modded with custom made splitter (since there’s available on the market) to work for unilateral loss, but your gadget is definitely more elegant solution that works for wide range of HAs.

I really like the idea!

So, I’d say, focus on improving tcoil as much as is possible. BT on both ears should be ok. But warn people with unilateral loss what to expect, so that they don’t get angry :joy:

Plus, think about longer battery life or making option with swappable battery (just give us doors, battery pack and charger would be insanely better solution to bunch of others with built in batteries). 6h isn’t a lot for someone working on video conference calls for example. And if they want to play music after work, no juice anymore. And let’s not forget, those 6h won’t be 6h after a few years of usage. HAs are made to last 4-6 years, with good care even longer. Most of people don’t change HAs like many people change phones - every 1-3 year (ok, people here mostly don’t change phone on yearly base either).
And let’s not forget, if you have to pay for them yourself, it’s several thousand dollars.

So I think we here are thinking about longevity much more than regular gadget lovers.

I guess also buying two-three and make them work with the same app wasn’t planned by design. I see people often go buying several battery-based things (like microphones) if they need to cover longer periods of time. But it’s built in HA apps or HA themselves that we can use several mics.

This is from top of my head, based on reading or experiencing frustrations with the current technologies.

Hope it helps somehow.

But definitely, start reading whole forum. People won’t notice this thread and come to report, you need to find them.

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Hi @Blacky thank you so much for your feedback!! :grinning:

EQ

Yes! According to our SDK, we can adjust as many points as we want from chip side (unlimited with entire spectrum). But the point is also coming from UI/UX design perspective, depending on how simple and how most people would use. We put 6 points in preview and demo, tho in the end it could be advanced modes in our app.

The problem is that including microphone for amplifying ambient sound with EQ adjustment which is way more than what we are currently aiming to. In that stage the product must be certificated, even though OTC in the US is coming, we decided to leave amplification job for modern HAs, just using established telecoil protocol for music delivery.

Sound quality

Most HAs having built-in WDRC (wide dynamic range compression), which means sounds would be distorted in many use cases. But actually most HAs can also be programmed to music mode. Even each single telecoil can be programmed in advance for its better frequency response. (ref: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/238315467_Programming_the_Telecoil_A_Case_Study).

The audio streaming to BT HAs is purely digital for sure, except the final output coming out from balanced armature which is definitely analog. In fact, different DAC (digital to analog converter) and audio codec processors do matter a lot. For example, Phonak Compilot is using customized digital protocol, instead of telecoil, so that it can stream data packets to both HAs at the same time and processed seperately to get stereo sound. However in each steps, the bottleneck does exist in bits and audio protocol processing speed (encode/decode), and it also affects sound quality. That’s why many audiophiles take DAC chips seriously.

The good thing about analog (telecoil) is less latency. The sound quality of telecoil is up to frequency response as a receiver with no doubt. But its frequency response is almost as good as built-in microphone on HAs (ref: Difference between the default telecoil (t-coil) and programmed microphone frequency response in behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids - PubMed), and audiologist can help to program it as well.

We worked hard to optimize and better output for coil. It can even compete the best Hi-Fi headphone amplifier in the market. Ansin (my partner) said the performance of our first prototype blew his mind, even better than his Phonak Compilot.

There is no latency for unilateral HA user if using Rearia Hai. The use case of unilateral HA user is to wear one earbud (have to plug-in) and one coil (by default). For earbud it’s real time for sure, and for coil streaming to HA via telecoil is also real time as well. As mentioned it’s analog. The simple block diagram of our product would be like phone/computer (digital audio) -> (Bluetooth) -> Rearia Hai (DAC) -> coil/earbud (analog audio). So coil and earbud are parallel.

Battery

Yea improving durability is with high priority in the roadmap. It’s pretty tough to get balance from design and engineering which is what we learnt from this project in the beginning. But right now we are more confident in making it better in the future and following current structure also take execution into account, as a young startup.

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