Sennheiser offers wireless headphones that can double as a hearing aid

The problem with dedicated hearing aids is that they can get exorbitantly priced, and generally don’t provide great hearing when you want to use them for listening to music. The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus promises to offer the perfect solution for the hearing impaired, with the product delivering superior audio fidelity and hearing aid functionality from the sleek package of seemingly ordinary wireless headphones.

Far from being the result of a benevolent initiative to help the hearing impaired, Sennheiser’s new product comes to fill a newly emerging market niche in the United States. Specifically, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a very generous program to subsidize hearing aids for adults with mild to moderate hearing problems, and devices in this category can be purchased without an explicit recommendation from an ENT doctor. So it is that experienced headphone manufacturers such as Sony, Jabra and now Sennheiser have responded by launching new wireless headphone models labeled as hearing aids.

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Assuming substantial government subsidies, Sennheiser announces the Conversation Clear Plus priced at $850, considerably more expensive than even the most pretentious wireless headphones offered by Apple or Sony.

Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus headphones come with pre-configured settings for three different listening scenarios. The “Relax” mode allows users to alter how aggressively background noise is cancelled out for those times when they want to “disconnect” from ambient noise, while the “Communicate” and “Streaming” modes will reduce unwanted noise and enhance the clarity and presence of nearby voices, or sounds from a TV or mobile device not directly connected to the headphones.

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Of course, the product also works as a regular wireless headset, delivering up to 9 hours of battery life in continuous use and an additional 27 hours using the battery backup in the carrying case. For now, it’s unclear whether Sennheiser will ship this product only to US buyers, or bring it to the European market as well.

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