In the last 15 years, the proportion of teens in the United States with mild or worse hearing loss has increased 77%.  Although, the research is not 100% conclusive, the prime suspects are headphones. 1964ADEL, a line of earphones that features new, patented in-ear technology and also recently raised more than half a million dollars on Kickstarter, promises to deliver supreme sound quality without the damaging side effects of traditional earphones.

As Stephen Ambrose, the original inventor of the wireless In Ear Monitors explains, the problem with regular headphones is that they produce harmful pneumatic pressures. Unlike acoustic pressure — the sound waves moving through air — pneumatic pressure is physically squeezing the air, like the pressure that is produced by the moving driver sealed inside your ear canal. Even at low volumes, this pneumatic pressure, which forms inside the closed ear, triggers the acoustic reflex — a mechanism that protects the ear from loud sounds. This unnecessary triggering, however, degrades the sound quality and can permanently wear out the acoustic reflex of the ear.

To solve the problem, Ambrose invented and patented a “second eardrum” called the Ambrose Diaphonic Ear Lens (ADEL), which absorbs harmful in-ear pressures. It is a synthetic membrane that can be attached to the tip of any in-ear device — it takes the brunt of the pounding and leads to a protected eardrum and a crisper, louder sound that actually requires lower overall volume levels. He explains:

“Sealing a speaker in the ear beats up the eardrum, overwhelms it with the motions of the speaker, that would be harmless if they were in free air. We have a second eardrum — a smart eardrum — it doesn’t get between the speaker and your eardrum; it’s off to the side, but it knows the difference between what you want to listen to and the harmful pressures that cause hearing loss.”

Ambrose’s technology is based on extensive research with grants from the National Science Foundation. In early 2014, Ambrose’s company, Asius Technologies LLC, partnered with 1964 EARS, manufacturer of custom in-ear monitors, to produce 1964ADEL — four new lines of earphones that eliminate the forceful pounding on the eardrums and maximize the audio quality.

Currently, the 1,296 backers of the project are waiting for their first earphones to be delivered in the next few months.

For a detailed explanation of the technology and research, watch the video below:


Photos: 1964ADEL