Posted on October 13th, 2012 by RESCUECOM
Joggers now have an option to lower their risk for accidents and hearing loss. Those who exercise while wearing traditional earbuds or headphones to listen to music or other recordings could be at risk. HearBudz is a new product to address health and safety problems caused by athlete inattention and high-volume music.
HearBudz are small attachments to Apple earbuds that keep them out of the ear canal. In shifting the location of earbuds, you still hear your music, yet you also hear street noises that could alert you to an approaching vehicle or other emergency.
The HearBudz website cites a University of Maryland study saying reported accidents of pedestrians wearing earbuds and hit by a vehicle have tripled over the last six years, with about three-quarters dying.
While the quality of music may improve when the earbud is stuck further in the ear canal or headphones feature sound-canceling qualities, safety does not.
In addition, according to the Phoenix, Arizona-based company, HearBudz protect your ears from too-loud music. One in four teenagers risks early hearing loss due to loud music devices, according to research from Tel Aviv University.
When RESCUECOM asked why it has taken so long to recognize the problems of safety and hearing loss, Scott MacDonald, HearBudz co-founder, answered, “I believe that most major companies that manufacture earbuds and headphones are more concerned with better sound quality, more bass and louder speakers. Noise-cancellation technology is improving and gaining popularity, which is great if you’re on an airplane or at home, but not so great if you’re out jogging. The problems associated with most earbuds and headphones on the market today are largely overlooked.”
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HearBudz work with standard white earbuds accompanying an iPad, iPhone, iPod or nano. The company claims that the HearBudz will stay in, even during running or other strenuous exercise.
“For most people, they stay in position very well, and are very comfortable for long periods of time,” MacDonald noted. “The sizes and shapes of people’s ears vary greatly, so it would be impossible to say that they stay in place perfectly for everyone. They worked great for the majority of people that have tried them.”
MacDonald got the idea for HearBudz while skiing by himself. Listening to music, he realized that if danger approached, he wouldn’t be able to hear it. So he moved the earbud outside his ear canal, holding it in place with his ski hat.
Since they went on sale in July 2012, about 3,500 pairs of HearBudz have sold. At $6.95 a pair, lightweight HearBudz come in six colors and fit most people.
“The next step for HearBudz is to promote the product,” MacDonald stated. “We are currently working on getting the word out, and raising awareness of the dangers of earbud use.”
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