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Listen up! These wireless earbuds will sharpen your hearing

If you struggle to hear in loud environments, Lizn's Headpiece earbuds could be a social lifesaver.


Lizn's earbuds are super discreet.

Katie Collins/CNET

Whether you're in a bar playing obnoxiously loud music or just a little hard of hearing, we all know what it's like to struggle to hear what someone physically close to us is saying.

Danish startup Lizn has developed one solution with its Hearpieces wireless earbuds, which can be used to listen to music or to enhance the hearing of the wearer.

Wireless earbuds are ten-a-penny at IFA 2017, Europe's biggest tech show, but Lizn's Hearpieces stand apart. They aren't designed to be a hearing aid replacement. Instead they're for people who have less serious hearing impediments and want to boost their hearing ability in loud or more social environments.

The discreet earbuds adjust the ratio of close speech to background noise, heightening the former and deadening the latter. Each bud contains two directional microphones to absorb nearby speech from the front, as well as toward the back and side. You can switch between headphone mode and hearing enhancement mode simply by tapping a button on the buds.

Denmark is something of a hub for hearing aid development. Its other engineers are from a pro audio background, which has allowed Lizn to develop the dual-use Hearpieces. There are two different hearing modes -- comfort and boost. Each amplifies sound to different volumes, which should cater for different hearing impairments and environments.

The Lizn Hearpieces will be available globally in October 2017 priced at $149 (or 149 euros in Europe).

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