Thursday, October 27, 2016

Amped headphones let you hear music and ambient sounds

10/27/2016

Gizmo Editor Review

When I take our dogs for a walk through the neighborhood, I’d love to be able to also listen to high-fidelity music or to recorded podcasts. But I have one significant issue that has made that almost impossible: I wear hearing aids.

That means there’s no room in my ears for earbuds and if I wear full-sized headphones with ear pads, I won’t hear ambient sound, like and approaching car, or hear my mobile phone ring.

Lucid Audio is the first headphone company that has developed a set of Bluetooth headphones designed for me and an estimated 35 million other Americans who have some level of hearing loss and the many of us who also wear hearing aids.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been wearing and evaluating the Lucid’s Amped headphones. They are full-sized headphones that fit comfortably over your ears so they can deliver high-quality sound from a portable Bluetooth audio player without the inconvenience of a connecting cable and while also allowing you to hear whet’s going on around you.

In addition to Bluetooth technology, the the Amped headphones also monitors and adjusts ambient noise levels. While I’m walking the dogs, I can listen to my favorite music or podcast when also hearing the sound of activity nearby. In in the background, I hear cars on the nearby street, a dog barking in a neighbor’s yard and voices.

Once I installed two AAA batteries, the Amped headphones were easy to pair with my iPhone. I pressed a BT button that’s built into the right ear cup to enter pairing mode, then selected Lucid BT from the phone.

A double-duty wheel on the ear pad controls the volume for both the audio source and the ambient sound. When you’re in a quiet area, you can turn up the outside sound level with a thumb or finger and turn it down if you’re near a busy street or other noisy environment. The Amped headphones are the first headphones I’ve found that let me listen to an audiobook while I’m using a leaf blower or other power equipment when I work outside around the house.

With Bluetooth, the headphones also let me pause the audio stream to make or accept a phone call. Conversations are clear and crisp and the headphones have a built-in omni-directional microphone to pick up my voice. Nobody I’ve talked to has complained that they couldn’t hear my voice or understand what I’m saying.

Another handy feature is an input jack on the right ear pad. That means I’ll be able to watch a movie on my next flight while blotting out the roar of the airplane engines.

For someone like me who has hearing loss, the Lucid Amped headphones cover all the bases. They let me listed to music of spoken word audio at a comfortable volume level without sealing me off from the outside world.

The Amped model sells for about $120 and is available with free shipping at the Lucid Audio website. You can also keep up with news about Lucid products on the company’s Facebook page and @lucidamped on Twitter.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.

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