When you think of Turtle Beach, you think of awesome video game headsets that provide great sound. You wouldn’t normally associate them with being innovators in the field of medicine. Well, that’s about to change thanks to the company’s latest invention: HYPERSOUND.
HYPERSOUND speakers consist of two thin panels that direct an ultrasound beam that carries audio throughout the air. Normal speakers aren’t focused, and generate sound omnidirectionally. HYPERSOUND speakers are comparable to a flashlight in the way they work. They generate sound in a controlled, focused beam. When one enters the beam’s sound radius, they hear sound as if they were wearing a surround sound headset.
I tried out HYPERSOUND for myself last week when I got a chance to hangout with some of the folks from Turtle Beach. I was placed directly in front of a TV screen with the two panels on either side of me. I had to make sure that I could see myself reflected on each panel to ensure that I would get the full focus of the sound beams. When I was set up, all I heard was the sounds coming from the television, which sounded about as normal as you would expect. When the HYPERSOUND speakers were turned on however, I got to hear the differences between it and a regular TV.
It’s one thing to have this stuff explained to you and another to actually experience it for yourself. The best way to describe it is to imagine being inside an ocean of sound. While the official statement says that this technology is like putting on a pair of surround sound speakers, it’s actually better than that since you aren’t cutting yourself off from the world by having headphones over your ears. And of course, there is the fact that it’s more comfortable to listen to speakers than to headphones since there is nothing physically on your ears.
Since the sound beams are focused, if you move out of the range of the speakers, you’ll no longer hear the sounds as clearly as you would if you were in their field of sound. If something or someone were to get in front of the speakers, you wouldn’t hear the sounds at all. What this means is that you can have these speakers turned on without disturbing anyone around you.
For those who suffer from hearing loss, this is a virtual godsend. Over eighty percent of folks who visit a Audiologist (hearing specialist) for the first time do so specifically because they are having problems hearing and understanding their TV. The typical solution for hearing loss is a hearing aid, which is something most people do not want to use. There is typically a five to seven year gap between the time people first visit an Audiologist and when they do get hearing aids.
While HYPERSOUND isn’t meant to be a solution to hearing loss, it is meant to provide a way for those who do suffer from hearing loss to understand their TV better without paying for the expensive devices. Typically, hearing aids start at $2000 and can go as high as $8000 to $10,000. To make matters worse, they are not usually covered by health insurance. With one in five Americans, and one in three people over age 65 suffering from hearing loss, as well as 50 million Americans, and 360 million globally who suffer from hearing loss, it’s easy to see how a product like this would be a great solution and alternative to hearing aids since it will cost (about) $1500.
HYPERSOUND has already received FDA approval (back in February of 2014), and Turtle Beach has partnered with many, including: American Hearing Aid Associates (AHAA), Audiology Management Group, Inc. (AMG), Amplified Resource Group, LLC (ARG), AuDConnex, and Fuel Medical Group, LLC in order to bring this technology to as many people as possible. This isn’t a product that can be found at a Best Buy, and will instead be distributed to hospitals and medical institutions.
Though not made specifically for gaming, HYPERSOUND is a great and innovative piece of technology that Turtle Beach has developed which will help millions of people who suffer from hearing loss to better understand their TVs.