A new type of home entertainment speaker for the hard of hearing is designed to make sound clearer, not just louder. Turtle Beach, a company that makes headsets for gaming, also makes speakers designed to make it easier for people with hearing loss to distinguish sounds—speech in particular—without needing to turn up the volume on their television, Wired reports.
The CDC reports that about 15 percent of American adults have some degree of hearing loss, meaning that plenty of people need a little extra help hearing the television to understand what’s being said. Regular speakers bounce sound all over the room, creating echoes that make it hard for people with hearing loss to make out speech precisely. According to the company, HyperSound speakers “emit sound in a highly controlled, narrow beam – much like how a flashlight beams light. Sound stays confined to that narrow beam, and as a result travels directly to the listener without bouncing around the room.”
They’re made to work in conjunction with regular home entertainment sound systems, so people who are hard of hearing can watch a movie with others without forcing anyone to turn up the volume to levels that are uncomfortable to people with normal hearing. They simply need to switch on the HyperSound speakers and turn them toward themselves, while everyone else listens through the regular sound system.
Currently, the speakers are only available through select hearing specialists.