Blasting tunes to block out the world certainly seems like a good idea right now, but what's it doing for our hearing over time? It's a worry, but Yamaha wants to put your mind at rest with its new TW-E5B earbuds.
Stylish design aside, this new addition to Yamaha's lineup of wireless headphones adopts the company’s True Sound ethos, promising very real music, an advanced mic design for crystal-clear calls, an ambient sound function and gaming mode plus Yamaha’s unique Listening Care technology. This particular feature is billed as "intelligent equalisation at any volume", helping to support safe listening.
By releasing the TW-E5B on World Hearing Day, the company hopes it will inspire users to think about a superior music listening experience with True Sound while keeping their long-term hearing health in mind.
To achieve True Sound, Yamaha explains that the E5B's 7mm driver unit and exit are placed on the same axis as the sound conduit, eliminating obstacles as much as possible. With the internal design of the earbuds, the company also claims to have achieved a structure with few protrusions to prevent interference from unnecessary noise and echoes. Additionally, a small hole on the rear side of the earbuds should control the back pressure generated from the driver and maximise the use of air inside the earbuds for a rich low range and three-dimensional presentation.
The housing design has an unusual ‘edge’ to fit in the user's ear for greater comfort, too. The oval shape of the earpieces and four supplied sizes of eartips should ensure a secure fit.
In 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a report estimating that more than one billion young people are at risk of developing avoidable, permanent hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices, compounded by the daily wear of earbuds and headphones at high volume levels. But that's where Listening Care comes in. It isn't the first time Yamaha has included the tech – it also features in the company's 2021-issue TW-E3B earbuds.
What does it actually do? Due to the nature of our hearing, Yamaha explains that when listening to music at low volumes, we often feel there is a lack of high and low frequencies. In order to hear these hard-to-hear sounds, we sometimes turn up the volume excessively, which can be damaging over time. In order to prevent the need for excessive volume, Yamaha says its Listening Care feature "adjusts the difficult-to-hear high and low frequencies so that the original tonal balance of the music is maintained". The promise is enjoyable music even at a lower volumes, without the need to go louder.
Elsewhere, the buds promise IPX5 water and sweat resistance, up to 30 hours of battery life (8.5 hours from the earbuds and 21.5 hours from the case) easy on-ear controls for phone calls, music playback and Siri / Google Assistant activation, custom EQ setting in Headphone Control App and four different colourways to choose from.
The Yamaha TW-E5B will be available from April, priced £129 (roughly $173, AU$236).
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