Nura is a company that produces the Nuraphone which are a bit more than just a pair of headphones. In short, it's a headphone that adapts to how you hear. Nura creates a tailored hearing experience just for you.
You're likely wondering how in the world is this possible and is it even affordable for people? I'm sure you have a few questions of your own, but, if you read on, I'm sure I'll answer most of them.
The Nuraphone is affordable if you're in the high-end headphone market. What is high-end? You'll find yourself paying an average of $549 CAD with the exchange rate. If you need an additional cable such as a 3.5mm analogue jack or a USB-C cable you'll face yourself with a cost averaging $580 CAD. The experience, however, is something else.
I haven't seen anything on the market that comes close to this. You need to experience it for yourself to have any idea of how this is wonderfully magical. I'll keep this as simple as possible when explaining how it works.
“The nuraphone plays a range of tones into your ears and then measures a very faint sound that your ears generate in response to these tones called the Otoacoustic Emission (OAE). This tiny signal originates in the cochlea and vibrates the eardrum, turning it into a speaker and playing the sound back out of your ear. This sound is about 10,000 times smaller than the sound that went in.”
The information generated is then being fed into a personal profile that will be used to deliver this amazing sound.
What does the shape of my profile mean?
The shape is our hearing sensitivity wrapped around a circle. Low notes at 12 o'clock and higher notes as the dial travels clockwise. The further away from the centre, the more sensitive you are to those frequencies.
Now you know exactly on how the Nuraphone works! Since this is a “UNIQUE” experience that I'm getting, you'll have to take my word for it. What I hear isn't what you'll hear. Hence the “unique” aspect of it.
Nuraphone's design is a bit unconventional. We have a set of earcups and inside those, we have in-ear gel tips. Made of sturdy aluminum you can bend and twist these and you won't have to worry about breaking them.
The headband is very comfortable sitting on the top of my bald head. The gel squishy foam provides enough padding to that you can have that sitting there for an extended period of time. The ear tips are tpu gel base and after a certain amount of time, I do get annoyed having them in my ears. You could say I get ear fatigue. I can easily wear these for about 4 hours before getting annoyed.
The side buttons on either side to adjust the headphones can be configured in the app for multipurpose use. I took steps to configure the buttons the way I thought would work best. The left side is used for play/pause/stop/answer calls with a single tap, while the double tap skips to the next song. The right side is configured to activate the social-mode which allows me to interact with people around me and double tapping goes to the previous track.
You won't find an on or off switch which is interesting. To turn them on simply place them on your head wait about 10 seconds and the device will automatically connect to whichever device you had it paired with. Turning the Nura off is just as easy, take them off your head and set them down.
In my profile, I could easily pick out the deep and rich lows associated with EDM music. When listening to more acapella the vocals were crisp, sharp and clear to my ears. Mixed genres of music such as country, pop, opera all had an expanded hearing experience that went further than what I was expecting.
It outperformed headphones from Audio Technica, V-MODA and Master & Dynamic. I was very pleased with what I was hearing and how the company really cares about each customer's personal experience.
The ANC (active noise cancelling) of the Nura rivals the best that's out there such as the Sony WH-1000XM3 which I for one and actually very impressed with. I can be literally in the same room while someone is playing some loud music and I can easily tune them out and drown them.
I've seen many other reviews make mention of the headphone sliding forward or back when they were bending down or looking at their smartphone. I haven't experienced this issue, which could be attributed to the fact that I don't have hair and the headphone band grips to my shiny bald head.
A friend and I took this a bit further…
He's essentially clinically deaf from one ear and completely deaf from the other. He's currently using a cochlear implant on one side to hear as we do.
We wanted to see what the Nuraphone would pick up for him in terms of his hearing ability and or if anything at all.
The Nuraphone wasn't able to pick up anything on the side of his cochlear implant since his eardrum is glued. We did expect that kind of result. On the side where he's been deemed by a medical professional clinically deaf, the Nuraphone determined he was able to hear some ranges of tones.
This was quite interesting since he hasn't been able to hear anything in well over 10 years now.
After we completed the setup process to get the profile working for him we had him hearing some music, some feedback from the side where we could get some tones back. For the first time in a long time, he was hearing in stereo.
Then we got into communication with Nura and provide what we had experienced and we did get something back from Nuraphone on the subject.
“We have not fully optimized the efficacy of Nuraphone in providing personalized sound to those with specific hearing needs, tinnitus or those in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities. We are very optimistic that Nura technology will translate to providing benefit for more people with more profound hearing requirements in the future.
The nuraphone uses an Otoacoustic Emissions(OAE) Test to map your hearing sensitivities. To do this, it plays an interpolation of frequencies into your ear and the Nuraphone's in-built microphones record how your ear responds. If the nuraphone is unable to detect enough otoacoustic response for this test, it may not be able to successfully create a hearing profile.”
I can't stress this enough, this is a must buy a pair. At $549 Canadian dollars it's not the most expansive I've had the pleasure of using and it's definitely not the least expansive. It also doesn't come with an additional cable connection, it's not bad if you plan to just use Bluetooth.
The price is well placed and you won't regret it. Do remember that you have gel tips going into your ears and that you also will have an over the ear cup surrounding your ears.
There you have it, folks, my assessment of the Nuraphone headphone that isn't a headphone. As always, if there's something more you'd like to see, read, hear about this piece, please don't hesitate to leave a comment, email or reach out to me on social media.