From iPods to MP3 players, personal music devices have become a must-have accessory for young adults across the globe. No surprise then that a quick search on Amazon returns a whopping 1,301,328 results for “headphones”. From Beats and Bose, to Sony and Sennheiser, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a new set of headphones. But could your set of headphones actually be damaging your hearing?
Research from The World Health Organisation shows one billion teens and young adults are at risk of losing their hearing. Almost half of 12 to 35 year olds around the world listen to music at an unsafe level on personal audio devices which could lead to permanent hearing damage.
The importance of responsible listening was recently thrown into the spotlight when stars such as Chris Martin and Plan B joined up with Action on Hearing Loss, a British charity created to warn people of the dangers of loud music and help prevent hearing loss and tinnitus in young people.
“Looking after your ears is unfortunately something you don’t think about until there’s a problem” comments Chris Martin.
Attempting to make their mark in the competitive portable music market is Geemarc. The cutting edge technology group has launched new range of headphones designed to prevent hearing loss before it occurs.
“Tinnitus is a serious issue and our KiwiBeat Music 101 headphones have been designed to prevent damage, before it occurs” comments Andrew Grossman, Managing Director of Geemarc
“The features are state-of-the-art and offer listeners all the enjoyment of crystal clear sound, without any of the health risks.”
Geemarc kindly set me a free sample of the Kiwibeat Smart 101 headphones in exchange for a review and as someone who spends 9 hours of the day playing Spotify (I work best with music in the background), I was keen to try them out.
First impressions of Geemarc Kiwibeat Smart 101 Headphones is very good considering its low price tag of just £17.99. The headset is incredibly lightweight, the adjustable headband fits most head sizes and the thick 1.2m cable has been placed on one side making it practically impossible to get tangled in your bag. Geemarc have obviously put a lot of thought into the design of the headset and it’s certainly paid off. The cushioned ear pads are super comfy and I was able to wear the headset for a long periods of time without the discomfort I usually get from in-ear headphones. The Smart 101 headset also comes with a built-in remote control with microphone which allows you to answer calls, skip tracks and pause music direct from headset.
The key selling point of the Geemarc Kiwibeat Music and Smart 101 headphones is safety. The headsets have been specifically designed to prevent hearing damage before it occurs. The headphones do not exceed maximum Sound Pressure Levels set by European and British Standards Directive Guidelines and only allows up to 94 dB maximum so you can crank up your favourite tunes as loud as you like without jeopardising your ears. Surprisingly, despite its attenuated volume, the sound quality is very good. When compared with my normal in-ear headphones, I found little difference in terms of sound quality, even with the volume was turned up to the max. The cushioned ear pads also assisted with blocking out any external noise.
The headset isn’t without its flaws however. The biggest turnoff is the style which is distinctively childlike in its appearance. Whilst Geemarc have designed the headphones with children in mind, parents with brand conscious kids are certainly going to have a battle on their hands trying to steer them away from bigger more stylish brands like Beats. The distinctive yellow and green colours on ear pads and adjustable headband (a cartoon kiwi with a set of headphones on) is clearly aimed at younger children making it practically impossible for an adult to wear. A more appropriate design would have been something more subtle, making it more appealing to both adults and children. Another flaw is the omission of a volume control function in the built-in remote control, particularly as ‘volume’ is a key selling point of the product.
On the plus side, the Kiwi Beat Music 101 is designed to work with most audio devices (iPod, MP3, smart phones, portable DVD and CD players and games consoles) with 3.5 mm Jack so you can enjoy all the benefits on-the-go.
All in all, Geemarc have done a decent job at creating a lightweight, comfortable set of headphones. For parents wanting to ensure their children don’t damage their ears from a young age, the KiwiBeat Music 101 headphones are ideal. If the company can sort out the issues with the style, I can certainly see them excelling in the market, particularly when you way up the health benefits on this product alone.