Yesterday, I was in a coffee shop talking to someone a short distance across the table from me in "focused conversation mode" (i.e. focused directionality, World Volume set to 20). I could hear my interlocutor well with the Hearphones on, but someone speaking at a table two tables away (in the same row, so to speak) was just about as audible as she was! This was a distraction, to say the least. I tried lowering World Volume, but of course it lowered the volume of my interlocutor's voice as well.
Any suggestions for how to improve audibility in such situations?
Thanks for the interesting question.
When I hear distractions behind the person I want to hear, I swap places with them, or reorient myself. I don't think our Hearphones can separate sounds by distance, although that would be an interesting feature.
There are some situations where even Hearphones cannot overcome the acoustics. I've learned to avoid reflective corners in noisy restaurants.
I'm curious to see what we can engineer to improve the experience.
Somewhere you explained very helpfully that at higher World Volume settings Herephones work by amplifying quiet sounds. It doesn't bring up all sounds to the same volume level, does it? The sound of someone speaking from a table two tables away much necessarily be softer than the sound of someone speaking 2 feet from me. The Hearphones shouldn't amplify them equally, should it?
Hearphones don’t bring up all sounds to the same volume level. That wouldn’t sound very good. Hearphones determine how much amplification to provide based on a few factors. The most relevant ones are the wheel settings and the loudness of all the sounds around you.
Using Focussed mode: If you’ve got someone close to you speaking loudly and someone far away (the distraction) is not as loud, Hearphones would not react to the sounds from the distraction. However, if the distraction is as loud as the person close to you, your best strategy is to get things turned around, so the distraction is behind you.
Wouldn't it be great if we could pinpoint specific sound sources we don't want to hear and have Hearphones remove the unwanted sounds? In the meantime, we get to find workarounds.
It's *highly* unlikely that someone speaking two tables away from my interlocutor (but directly behind her) were speaking at the same volume as she; that person would have to have been shouting!
Café environments are certainly very challenging for these devices.
May 16, 2017