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Has Bose found the answer to sleepless nights?

Noise-masking sleepbud technology tackles the big sleep

Every ear and every environment is different. The tracks are generally more broadband, so they cover a wider range of frequencies. Some will not be as relaxing to some people, so we have to provide these different options ~ Daniel Lee, systems engineer, Bose.

Bose reckons it may have the solution to sleepless nights. With what could be potentially game-changing technology for the 60 per cent of people worldwide who do not get the requisite amount of sleep, the American tech giant has now officially released its wireless noise-masking sleepbuds in the UAE.

60 per cent of adults in the world struggle to get to, and then stay asleep, according to research by The National Sleep Foundation (NSF). And if the impact of that isn’t alarming enough, research has shown, Bose say, that the day after daylight savings time there’s a 24 per cent increase in incidents of heart attacks around the world.

And to cap of the frightening research Bose has thrown out to vindicate the release of the soporific tech, disturbed sleep is associated with heart-disease, raised blood pressure and even Alzheimer’s disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Serious stuff. So that’s what the sleepbuds are here to prevent. An admirable ambition.

Essentially, the sleepbuds are tiny (just over a centimeter tall and wide) little tablets that fix into your ear to mask over unwanted sounds by playing one of ten “soothing” tracks at a time. The pre-loaded tracks range from rustling leaves, to running water to the sound of a running shower. More tracks will become available, and can be loaded onto the buds through the Bose Sleep app.

Every ear and every environment is different. The tracks are generally more broadband, so they cover a wider range of frequencies. Some will not be as relaxing to some people, so we have to provide these different options ~ Daniel Lee, systems engineer, Bose.

The sleepbuds are the smallest Bose product ever made, weighing just 1.4 grams. On their exterior is a laser-etched antenna for connectivity to a phone or tablet. Inside, there’s a rechargeable silver-zinc battery, a miniscule transducer, and a micro-circuit board with flash memory to store the pre-loaded noise-masking sound files.

Both attach to a new noise-isolating StayHear+ Sleep tip, which creates another physical barrier to unwanted sound. StayHear+ Sleep tips are included in three sizes to fit your different sized ears, obviously. When fully charged they last for up to 16 hours. And they’re retailing for Dhs999 from Bose online, and all good tech and lifestyle outlets. 

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Debonair tested out the new technology at the UAE launch of the product an exclusive event at La Ville Hotel in City Walk, Dubai. We were taken into a darkened room with a stranger. Although this is how murder mysteries or horror films start, it all ended up just fine and peaceful.

After settling into a bed, we were played three common noise tracks — snoring, city street noise and noisy neighbours partying the night away — sans sleepbuds. After listening to each one through for a few minutes, the buds were plugged in. And from the app, a track was selected — we opted for “Swell” – lapping waves.

The first question we had was comfort: what do they feel like when you’re laying on them? The answer is, astonishingly, you don’t know they’re there.

Onto the efficacy of the sound masking itself, once the track was playing, the common noise disturbances were inaudible for the majority of the time. The one track that perforated the sleepbuds sound masking track was the noisy neighbours.

So we asked Daniel Lee, systems engineer at Bose — the guy responsible to creating the sleepbuds, about that. “Different tracks have different spectral content,” he says.

“So it’s about letting users experiment, because every ear and every environment is different. The tracks are generally more broadband, so they cover a wider range of frequencies. Some will not be as relaxing to some people, so we have to provide these different options.”

In essence, you need to find the track to suit you and the environment in which you’re using them. Circulate or Tranquility tracks may not work for cancelling out noisy neighbours. But Swell may do. It’s up to the user to find what works.

So there’s much about them that is still very manual. You set the volume, you set the timer, you set the track: the sleepbuds do not actively listen and adjusting the sound masking level and track to suit the environment you’re in.

So, if the other half is a bit of a snorer, sleep-talker or inexplicably rowdy at night, getting to sleep can be a fight you don’t need at the end of a long, busy day.

Then there’s those city hotels. When you’re travelling for business and put up in city centre hotels, regardless of how plush they are there’s always the street-side noise, lorries reversing, and the general hubbub of a restless city life. Getting to sleep with the noise coming in from the outside can be a fight you don’t need after long hours of travelling.

And then. Then there’s always the house party next door. The neighbours are away and they’ve left their entitled brats in charge of the six-bed villa for the weekend. That’s when the hectic drum’n’bass rhythms start. And don’t stop until 4am.

But now, thanks to Bose, you don’t have to go next door in your robe and deliver a sermon on mounted noise levels. You don’t have to turn the hotel tv on full blast to cancel out the sounds of the urban street outside your hotel room. And you don’t have to gag the misses as she slumbers in her own sweetly vociferous way.

All three scenarios don’t need to affect your sleep patter any more. The tech giant’s new sleep buds promise to mask ambient sound and deliver ten soundtracks of peaceful sounds, all in a tiny, pliable little earbud that moulds to your ear and is so small you can lay on it for eight hours on end – all night if you need to – without feeling like you have some cumbersome headset, or earphone stuck into the side of your head.

Whichever way you look at it, this is a promising step forward in what is an increasingly important part of your ever-intensifying life cycle.

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