Wear is a new directional microphone necklace designed for those with hearing loss as a way to improve the quality of conversations. The wearable device is part fashion accessory as well as hearing aid alternative that amplifies and clarifies sounds captured within a 6 ft radius. Completely rechargeable, users of Wear simply plug in ear plugs to the device for perfect analogue sound to enjoy conversation in noisy environments.
Wear was designed by Eric Rosenthal, a Systems Engineer and Perception Specialist and head of Creative Technology, with the help of Michelle Temple, disability specialist and adjunct professor at NYU ITP. Their goal in designing Wear was to help those suffer from hearing loss enjoy conversation more with the help of a device that had a significantly lower price point than other hearing aids. Wear is a circular device worn on a chain around the neck and uses analogue technology to capture and clarify sound before routing it into headphones for the wearer.
The assistive hearing device is made also to look good for the wearer so that it is not obtrusive or obvious that it is a hearing aid. The 2 in diameter microphone comes in a wood and metal or black and red plastic version and can work with any pair of headphones or earbuds. The user simply plugs in the headphone jack into the device and listens through the headphones to the conversation or sounds that are coming from about a 6 ft radius. Other sounds in the background are diminished so wearers can concentrate on the conversation at hand.
Unlike many hearing aids, Wear is fully rechargeable and can be powered up and ready to go within an hour and has enough energy to last all day long. Rosenthal and Temple recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to finish production on the device and make them ready for shipment. Wear is made in the USA and costs $165. In the future, the designers hope to improve upon the design and make it compatible with wireless bone conduction devices for even less obtrusive use.