Monday, 30th October 2017

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Earbuds for blissful sleep

Unlike most other earbuds, the Sleepbuds can’t play music or any other form of audio from external devices

  • Published 24.03.19, 3:12 PM
  • Updated 24.03.19, 3:12 PM
  • 2 mins read
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Bose Sleepbuds The Telegraph picture

A sound night’s sleep is elusive for a lot of people these days —especially those living on a noisy street, in a bustling neighbourhood or a cacophonic hostel. Pillows over the head, ear plugs, soundproof window panes and even giant headphones fail to help. But the Bose Sleepbuds just might.

The Bluetooth-powered snug-fit ear plugs are an amazing tool to block out noise, aided by the calming sounds they play. Innovated by engineers at Bose, the Sleepbuds “combine passive blocking of sleep-disturbing sounds with a choice of sounds engineered to mask what gets past the blocking by the eartips”. They call it “masking”, not cancelling.

“Noise-masking is a science,” says Daniel Lee, systems engineer for Bose Sleepbuds. “It’s more than ambient sound or white noise. You can’t achieve it by simply turning up the volume on calming songs. And depending on the situation, it’s more effective than active noise cancelling — even ours.”

No, the underlying technology doesn’t make use of Bose’s patented noise-cancellation tech that’s integral to QuietComfort headphones. Adds Lee, “During the day, QuietComfort headphones improve focus and productivity, or let you hear your playlists and calls clearly in loud places. But at night, you’re trying to shut down completely, and the world is naturally quieter— and when it’s quiet, even the slightest sound seems loud.”

One of the Sleepbuds’ salient features is their tiny size. They weigh a mere 1.3g — less than a third of what Apple’s AirPods weigh (4g). The buds are designed to fit snugly into your ear and not fall out even if you sleep on your side or toss and turn in your sleep.

Unlike most other earbuds, the Sleepbuds can’t play music or any other form of audio from external devices. It can’t stream podcasts, audiobooks or music from YouTube.

They do, however, have quite a few options — hand-picked from the archives of Mother Nature — to lull you into deep sleep. The dense ambient sound options — such as Rustle (leaves whirling in a breeze), Shower (gentle rain on leaves) and Campfire (crackling fire and softly chirping crickets) — cover up the loud snores of a bedmate or noises from the street outside your bedroom window quite effectively. It can even mask the persistent whirring of household appliances.

More audio tracks will eventually be added to Bose’s mobile app for Sleepbuds, so you’ll be able to swap them in and out as you wish. The Sleepbuds charge in an aluminum case with a micro USB connection and rubber base for sturdy placement on your nightstand. The case holds an additional 16 hours of power, so you’ll get a total of 32 when travelling before everything needs recharging.

The only downside is the price tag — Rs 22,900 — quite a large amount of money for earbuds that can’t even play music. But believe me, they are worth every rupee. A good night’s sleep is, as any insomniac will tell you, priceless.

Gadget: Bose Sleepbuds

Tech Specs: In-ear tiny headphones with pre-loaded sounds, charging/storing case, USB cable

Price: Rs 22,900

Best for: Masking ambient noise