Soundhawk is a little ear piece with a big job. About the weight of an earring, and half the size of a Bluetooth device, Soundhawk fits right in your ear. Once it's situated in there, it takes on the task of getting you to hear exactly what you want to hear, and as clearly as you can possibly hear it.
In an interview with The Wire, the team behind Soundhawk gave us the details on the company and let us test run the product. Soundhawk is the brain child of Rodney Perkins, who is an ear surgeon turned startup guru. Perkins has launched twelve start ups, three of which went public. Soundhawk's design came from a team of about 25, half of whom have scientific expertise in the hearing industry, and half of whom have worked on commercial technology products for the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Motorola. Thus far, it's raised $11.2 million in funding and signed a strategic partnership with Foxconn, the manufacturer producing the large majority of iPhones.
Now, Soundhawk isn't for people with hearing impairments. It's for people that want to hear as well as possible in their surroundings, be that a crowded bar, talking on the phone when there's street noise, or when your TV is turned down super low so as not to upset your sleeping spouse one room over. Soundhawk just wants you to hear as well as humanly possible.
I gave Soundhawk a test run of my own. I am in my 20s, so my hearing is at least average, though living in New York has dulled it a bit through daily subway commutes and my affection for blasting music in my earbud headphones. When I first looked at Soundhawk's Scoop (that's the earpiece) I was a little intimidated by the size. I have tiny ears, so it seemed a little menacing. Luckily, there are four different sizes to choose from. I popped in the smallest of the four, and that did the trick. It didn't flop around — I was expecting the Bluetooth "floppy effect" — because the mass of the device is centered over the ear canal.
Then, it was time to calibrate the device to my preferences. This is personalization of sound. Soundhawk connects to your Android or iOS device, and there's a nifty app to go along with it. The app is really straightforward: You set your environment (indoors, outdoors, dining, etc.) and then you calibrate the device for the usage you need. If your surroundings or noise level change, you can adjust your preferences in real time. The app also allows you to accept calls and listen right in the earpiece, as well as bring up Siri on iOS and Google Now on Android.