OTOjOY Overhauls Concert Experience

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Categories Edison Awards News

Imagine getting a private concert from your favorite musician. Many of the world’s most famous concert venues have a reputation for terrible acoustics. Add thousands of people talking and additional ambient noise and the sound of the music is muffled and unclear. Concert goers want to hear the music and only the music – and now there is a better way!

OTOjOY was founded to enhance the listening experience for those with and without hearing loss. OTOjOY LoopBuds, the company’s first invention and Edison Award winner, create access to crystal-clear speech and music during concerts, lectures and conferences in any hearing loop assistive listening system worldwide. Thanks to OTOjOY, these can now even be found at large music festivals, such as Coachella, Stagecoach, and Lightning in a Bottle.

OTOjOY LoopBuds utilize magnetic induction combined with smartphones to create an affordable solution for hearing access, real-time captions, improved sound, and a more immersive listening experience at live events for anyone. OTOjOY LoopBuds create the acoustic signal directly in the user’s ear, rather than having the sound travel large distances across the room. This allows for a high-fidelity reproduction of the music or speech at a much lower volume with clear sound; as a result, these buds even aid in the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss that can result from continual exposure to loud noise experienced at concerts. (To hear the difference yourself, click here and here.)

After several years of installing assistive listening technology in public spaces, OTOjOY saw an opportunity to use smartphones as receiving devices for hearing loop systems despite the inherent lack of physical capabilities. During early tests of the innovative circuitry of LoopBuds at conferences and music events, it became apparent that the technology provides tremendous benefit to any listener, independent of their hearing abilities. In partnership with engineers, audiologists, designers, and musicians, the feature set was continually improved and expanded.

Hearing loop systems are preferred over other assistive listening technology by users due to their universal nature, high convenience, and nonexistent latency. In contrast to other assistive listening technology options, such as FM/RF systems and infrared technology, a hearing loop system is unique in allowing people to use their existing hearing aids and cochlear implants to directly connect to a venue’s sound system at the push of a button. It removes the hassle of needing to deal with bulky headset receivers from both the user and the venue, creates equal access for people with hearing loss, treats them with dignity, and increases independence.

OTOjOY’s vision is a world where anybody, regardless of their hearing ability, is able to hear what they choose to hear, access vital information, fully participate in their communities without being stigmatized, and enjoy music and concerts without damaging their hearing.

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Mellissa Hopkins

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