People of this country who are getting deaf by applying earphone, be careful as soon as these symptoms appear

If we look around us, we see many people who are wearing earphones in their ears. In today’s time, many people use earphones to talk on calls in addition to watching videos and listening to audio. However, did you know that these small earphones (side effects of earphone use) can make you deaf? Yes, and that’s happening in one country. In fact, a quarter of the population here is becoming deaf due to earphones being put in the ears. Now we tell you about the country and about the harm and avoid tips of installing earphones.

In France, 25 percent of people have low hearing ability – in fact, research conducted by the National Institute of Health and Medical Institute has claimed that one in four people in France is having trouble hearing. Let us also tell you all that this is the first time that such a large-scale research has been done in France. It included about 460 people between the ages of 18 and 75. Yes, and the researchers claim that the reason for hearing less is social isolation, depression and listening to music in a loud voice.

If we look around us, we see many people who are wearing earphones in their ears. In today’s time, many people use earphones to talk on calls in addition to watching videos and listening to audio. However, did you know that these small earphones (side effects of earphone use) can make you deaf? Yes, and that’s happening in one country. In fact, a quarter of the population here is becoming deaf due to earphones being put in the ears. Now we tell you about the country and about the harm and avoid tips of installing earphones.

In France, 25 percent of people have low hearing ability – in fact, research conducted by the National Institute of Health and Medical Institute has claimed that one in four people in France is having trouble hearing. Let us also tell you all that this is the first time that such a large-scale research has been done in France. It included about 460 people between the ages of 18 and 75. Yes, and the researchers claim that the reason for hearing less is social isolation, depression and listening to music in a loud voice.

SheerlinkTM Expands Audio Module Series

In association with the NAMM show in Anaheim, California (June 3-5, 2022), RTX A/S, (NASDAQ Copenhagen: RTX A/S), a leader in the design of resilient wireless audio solutions, today announced the expansion of their audio module series supporting the Sheerlink product solutions. The new RTX1291 2.4GHz module bears strong relations to the RTX1290 module but fits additional purposes due to its higher DSP performance.

RTX Sheerlink solutions for wireless audio products significantly reduce the complex wireless audio engineering and, what really matters these days, the uncertainty of the supply chain. Thus, enabling vendors to focus on realizing their own product ideas while improving their capability to deliver.

Multiple wireless configurations are available in the Sheerlink solution family, each with its own product use cases in mind. Supporting one to multiple wireless devices on a single system or going big with interconnected systems.

“Our customers have really embraced the possibilities we are providing. Product portfolios have revealed themselves and many have moved their wireless products into the leading game. With our exciting roadmaps and shared goals with our customers we intend to stay there, together,” said Torben Bjerregaard, Director of Product Management at RTX.

Besides modules, the Sheerlink product solutions include recommended designs for analog and digital circuitry as well as antenna design. Additional support packages give customers the freedom and flexibility to get products to market within a very short time frame without necessarily being radio experts.

Whether buying into one product, a partial or full product portfolio, RTX offers the capability and resources to deliver complete ODM solutions, including mechanic and packaging, product type approvals, production tests, and software customization.

About RTX

RTX A/S is a leading provider of wireless solutions – a growing business driven by digitalization and the demand for mobility and secure transmission. RTX has successfully finalized more than 1,000 wireless projects, ODM or OEM solutions in collaboration with global technology brands – from initial design, development, testing, and production.

RTX operates through 3 business areas: ProAudio, Enterprise, and Healthcare with a broad exposure to global brands in many different industries. RTX was founded in 1993 and the company is headquartered in Denmark with satellite locations in Hong Kong and the US.

Jazz Fest musical instrument drive returns for the 13th year

The 19th edition of the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival kicks off on June 17th and a longstanding donation drive is back with it.

M&T Bank and the Rochester Education Foundation (REF) are once again teaming up to collect musical instruments for local students during the festival for the 13th year.

Rochester Jazz Festival lineup: See who’s playing in 2022 after two-year hiatus
There will be an M&T booth at the festival that will serve as a drop-off site for musical instruments and to raise awareness for REF’s year-found efforts to super Rochester City School District students.

Throughout Jazz Fest, the donation booth will be open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to gather instruments. It will be located inside the merchandise tent at Parcel 5 in downtown Rochester.

REF accepts instruments for students of all ages and skill levels and accepts everything from recorders to string instruments, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments.

Officials say the greatest need is for trumpets, alto saxophones, and orchestral strings like violins, violas, and cellos. They say music supplies, like stands, amps, sound equipment, guitar strings, and drum sticks are also welcome and appreciated.

“After two challenging years, the return of the Jazz Festival is a moment to celebrate and an opportunity to join together again to uplift our community. I believe our city cares so deeply about the arts because so many of us have enjoyed opportunities to explore our own talents in music and other art forms. That’s something every student deserves and our community should generously support,” said M&T Bank Rochester Regional President Dan Burns. “I’m grateful for REF’s incredible work in leading this drive and helping local children access educational opportunities. If you have an unused instrument at home, please give it new life and help us put it in the hands of a child in need.”

“REF is grateful to M&T Bank for its generous support of our Music and Arts for All program. Because of M&T Bank’s annual donation of its booth at the Jazz Festival, as well as the wonderful M&T volunteers that help staff it, REF has collected instruments from hundreds of festivalgoers. These instruments have meant so much to the students who were able to experience the joy of learning to play an instrument,” said REF Executive Director Amy Stein.

‘Astounding sound’: The iconic Bose Wave Music System is a whopping $160 off right now

Sure, the digital era is great and all, but there’s still a lot to be said for the sound of physical media and good ‘ol over-the-air radio. If you’re one of those people who can’t let go of your CDs and love tuning in the FM or AM band, the Bose Wave Music System IV is just what you’ve been searching for.

QVC has dropped the price of this set, which includes a Bluetooth receiver, from $500 to just $340. That’s the lowest price we’ve found on the web. Trust us, this baby’s gonna fly off the shelves.

Don’t want to pay all in one go? Opt for five installments of just $68 instead. Plus, if you’re a first-time QVC shopper, you can grab an extra $15 off with code OFFER.
And get $10 off your second purchase of $25 or more with code HELLO10.

The Bose Wave Music System IV — which comes in Espresso Black and Platinum Silver — delivers epic sound and comes equipped with a plug-in PAWW Bluetooth receiver, so you can wirelessly sync your smartphone or laptop to it (there’s also an auxiliary port if you want to plug in another device instead) — it’s a great marriage of old-school and tech-enabled. The design is elegant, minimal and slim, so this powerhouse can fit just about anywhere you want it, and the sound is epic.

Enjoy waking up to the sound of music or the day’s headlines on the radio? You can program the system’s timer to sync up to your preferences too. There’s no shortage of amazing features in this powerful little sound system. It has a slot-loading CD player for all those beloved albums you’ve been neglecting, a headphone jack, and Waveguard speaker technology that amplifies everything beautifully, from your favorite podcasts to your workout playlists.

Bose reviewers praise the longevity of this sound system and its superior sound quality. See below to learn why shoppers are obsessed with the Bose Wave Music System IV.

Superior sound quality
“There is no question that the sound is fantastic,” wrote a five-star Bose reviewer.

“Perfect system for the home,” wrote another shopper. “The sound is simply stunning and fills the entire room. The radio reception is superb and the ability to play Internet radio via TuneIn brings this product firmly in 2020s!”

Practically perfect, in every way
“I wanted a newer Bose, with a CD player, for another room so the System IV was a natural choice…” shared a longtime Bose fan. “The AM/FM stereo radio and CD player perform flawlessly and the sound quality is equal to or better than a top-drawer stereo system with large bookshelf speakers I have owned before. All in an attractive, compact package.”

The Bose Wave Music System IV produces “astounding sound,” added another happy customer. “Played about a dozen CDs of mine with even better results,” continued the fan. “The music just got better!”

Catch this QVC sale while you can, especially for $160 off!

The beat goes on: Evolving trends in music consumption

In the last decade, music has become omnipresent. The convenience and portability of music devices as well as the iteration of recording and distribution has enabled, literally, anyone to stay in tune with formats that appeal to their individual tastes.

But that has not always been the case.

Before the world grew fond of streaming, listening to music through phones and downloaded songs over the internet, consumers in the Gilded Era had to contend with experimental music mechanisms. Top of the range was Thomas Edison’s phonograph, a tinfoil-coated device that the American inventor introduced in 1877 that could record music and play it back.

Though scratchy and recordings could only be played once, the phonograph unimaginably paved the way for the future of music. Before, people made instruments and enjoyed music live.

In the last decade, music has become omnipresent. The convenience and portability of music devices as well as the iteration of recording and distribution has enabled, literally, anyone to stay in tune with formats that appeal to their individual tastes.

But that has not always been the case.

Before the world grew fond of streaming, listening to music through phones and downloaded songs over the internet, consumers in the Gilded Era had to contend with experimental music mechanisms. Top of the range was Thomas Edison’s phonograph, a tinfoil-coated device that the American inventor introduced in 1877 that could record music and play it back.

Though scratchy and recordings could only be played once, the phonograph unimaginably paved the way for the future of music. Before, people made instruments and enjoyed music live.

Considering that gramophones recorded on a 10-inch 78 RPM santuri that could hold about three minutes of sound per side, Bahati Bukuku’s 13-minute genius in Waraka wa Amani could have been lost or unsuitably truncated had the device been the industry standard today, robbing the gospel singer, considered by some as the voice of a generation, of her gift of storytelling.

Considering that gramophones recorded on a 10-inch 78 RPM santuri that could hold about three minutes of sound per side, Bahati Bukuku’s 13-minute genius in Waraka wa Amani could have been lost or unsuitably truncated had the device been the industry standard today, robbing the gospel singer, considered by some as the voice of a generation, of her gift of storytelling.

Inexpensive and free, entertainment and music soon became a mainstay of radio programming, making its way into Kenya when Voice of Kenya (VoK) was launched in 1928. Then-owned by the colonial government, but now state-run and renamed Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), VoK was the sole broadcaster. It targeted white settlers and started catering to locals in 1953 through the African Broadcasting Services. Due to colonialism and inequality, however, access remained a challenge. Gatherings in front of radio sets thus became a common occurrence in households that had permits to own one.

Headphones

Unsurprisingly, the invention of the headphones in Utah, USA, 1910, by Nathaniel Baldwin, went in tandem with the spontaneous growth of radio. Baldwin’s headphones consisted of padded ear cups and a radio jack pin to allow users to plug in and listen to the radio. By 1958 the invention had gone through development and opened the way for the creation of the first wireless headphones by John Koss.

Koss’ wireless pieces were a game-changer, portable, and comfortable, specifically made for music listening and received a signal through a transmitter. It reenergized that generation’s bell-bottom fancying lovers who intricately reimagined Afro-hairdos as nations freed themselves from their former colonial masters at the turn of the century.

Cassette

That same year, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) introduced the RCA tape cartridge, a much-welcome option for personal users compared to AEG’s junky first reel-to-reel tape recorder of 1935 and an improvement to Fritz Pfleumer’s 1928 magnetic tape invention. With this, music lovers could enjoy 60 minutes of high-quality music and when Dutch corporation Phillips consolidated the reels in 1963 to a cassette, sounds become more fluid and allowed for the rise of the mixtape culture in the USA. A cassette trend Nduti One-Stop Music Shop, famed for its music collection in the 1990s, cashed in on, among others, along Latema Road in Nairobi.

Walkman

Music enthusiasts united around the 8-track tape that was fitted into cars in 1964, but it, too, would be replaced by the Walkman, a Sony invention released in 1979 and discontinued in 2010, that was famously portable and could accept tapes. Thanks to the Walkman’s innovative tools such as auto-reverse, bass boost functionalities and compatibility with Baldwin’s headphones, cassettes outsold vinyls for the first time in 1983.

CD

The last nail in the coffin for vinyls was Sony and Philips’ move to work together to create the compact disc (CD) for audio players in 1982. While not their invention, as it had been created in the late ‘60s by American physicist James Russell, the two companies realized its potential and standardized it after Swedish pop group, Abba successfully pressed their highly acclaimed album The Visitors to CD. Sony would double down on the trend by introducing a portable CD player, the D-50, in 1984.

MP3 player

The compression of music ushered in further file compaction leading to the introduction of the MP3 player courtesy of a collaborative effort between German audio engineer, Karlheinz Bradenburg and Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) in 1998.

Streaming

When the new millennium clocked zero, a new era of digital music consumption, streaming, began. It was propelled by evolving media habits following the proliferation of the internet with the rollout of Pandora in the year 2000, opening the field gates wide open.

Apple would take advantage of the lull in 2001 to roll out the iPod and cement its market share with the release of iPod Classic in 2002 and take a bite at the streaming trend with Apple Music in 2015. Amazon swung in on February 2, 2005, followed by SoundCloud in 2007, then Spotify (2008). As of 2022, there is a prevalence of online streaming across households in the country.

How a renowned violin maker gives ‘new life’ to over 8,000 musical instruments in Phoenix

Internationally renowned violin maker and instrument conservator Rodrigo Correa-Salas has been responsible for maintaining, reviewing, overseeing and preserving all 13,000 instruments and objects at Arizona’s Musical Instrument Museum for just over four years.

Previously, he worked in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Chile and Panama. Like his move to Arizona, most of those moves were predicated on invitations. When he lived in Venezuela, he was invited to audition for the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music as a student. When he lived in Chile after graduation, he was invited to work in Panama as the chief luthier — a string instrument maker — for orchestras across Central America.

Then, in July 2017, Correa-Salas received a call from Manuel Jordán, deputy director and chief curator of MIM, the world’s largest global instrument museum, inviting him to interview in Phoenix to be the museum’s conservator.

“When I got here and I saw the place, I was in love,” Correa-Salas said. “It was like, ‘wow. It would be an honor to be here, I thought, ‘I want to be part of this.’ It was easy.”

‘If you love what you do, you will be okay’
Correa-Salas was born in Santiago, Chile, surrounded by musicians. His grandpa was the orchestra conductor for the Santiago Symphony Orchestra. His mom danced professionally as a Spanish dancer and ballerina.

The artistic community foreshadowed the careers of Correa-Salas and his brothers — one is now a painter and sculptor and another is an orchestra conductor in Miami, Florida.

The three brothers followed their mom like little chicks following their mother duck, Correa-Salas said. When he was just five years old, they moved to Venezuela after she left their father to start a new life for she and her sons.

With just two suitcases and three hundred dollars, Gloria Salas-Ponce found a new home for the family in Caracas. She had always dreamed of receiving a college degree, Correa-Salas said, but instead, she gave up her dance career and worked jobs across the city from cleaning homes to working in restaurants to provide for them.

At 8 years old, Correa-Salas started working to help out. He stored the money he made from hours spent fixing cars in a little piggy bank.

“We grew up really, really fast, really really young,” Correa-Salas said. But one of the most beautiful things she taught us was responsibility. It made all the difference.”

Even amid their financial struggles, his mom still encouraged him to follow his passion. “She would always say, ‘whatever you choose to do, if you love what you do, you will be okay,” Correa-Salas said.

A musical awakening and a passion for passing it on
Correa-Salas was 17 years old when he first picked up a cello. Classical music had been around him his whole life and he felt the need to participate by playing an instrument.

In just one year, he attained a university-level proficiency in cello performance and was accepted into the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music.

Between classes and orchestra performances around the country, Correa-Salas worked as a restaurant server at a music venue. He’d wait tables before the shows, get on stage to perform and then go back to serving.

“People would have to do double takes,” Correa-Salas said, laughing.

Though he started his musical studies in cello performance, he switched to study musical education, which later paved the way for his true passion — musical instrument making and conservatorship.

For Correa-Salas, there was nothing richer than simultaneously teaching students music while also fixing their instruments.

After graduating from the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, Correa-Salas was accepted into Indiana University’s violin making program where he received an Associate of Science degree in string instrument technology.

He then returned to Puerto Rico to begin his career.

From South America to the Southwest
In Puerto Rico, Correa-Salas and his mom started a preschool, Centro Amati. They converted their big wooden house into a space where they taught preschoolers music.

On the second floor of the house, Correa-Salas opened and ran a violin shop where he repaired and restored violins. He closed the school, which he described as he and his mother’s “beautiful project,” after eight years.

At that time, Correa-Salas was appointed custodian of the cello of Maestro Pablo Casals — a legendary, internationally renowned Hispanic cellist. He later became the official luthier of the Festival Casals of Puerto Rico.

While working as the faculty coordinator, producer and teacher for the San Juan Children’s Choir, he continued to play cello with musical groups across the country.

“I loved doing many, many different things,” Correa-Salas laughed.

Fifteen years later, Correa-Salas returned to his homeland, Chile, where he gave presentations at universities and schools across the country about preserving and maintaining instruments. While there, he also assembled more than 2,000 string instruments, which the government distributed to lower income schools for orchestras.

He was invited to work as the chief luthier in Panama, where he helped orchestras across Central America restore and repair instruments for performances.

While there, he got the life-changing call from MIM. They wanted to interview him to be their conservator.

In 2017, MIM flew Correa-Salas from Panama to Phoenix where Robert J. Ulrich, museum founder and board chairman, asked Correa-Salas to repair an instrument.

“He looked at me and he called, ‘Manuel, do we have something to restore or repair?’ And after Manuel brought me to the lab, they brought me back, Manuel told him I did very good at repairing the instrument and he said, ‘ok, you are the man.'”

They offered him the job on the same trip. It would mean another move, farther from family and the career he’d built in South and Central America.

“When I saw how the musical instruments connected with all the cultures, I’ve never seen connections like these before,” Correa-Salas said. “It was like a revelation. I marveled at how they teach how the geography connects with the music. It had a big impact on me.”

He accepted the job.

“When your heart and your mind and your body tell you ‘no doubt about it,’ then you say ‘okay,'” Correa-Salas said.

What does it mean to take care of 8,000 instruments?
In his time at the museum, Correa-Salas has restored an average of more than 300 instruments per year.

His days start with a cup of coffee, he said. “A big one,” he added.

He said he’s always researching, always learning. Every day he circles around the museum to gaze over all 8,000 instruments. He monitors what might need polishing, restoration or additional upkeep.

The moment new instruments arrive at the museum, Correa-Rodrigo inspects them first.

Whether he’s restoring an instrument already on display in the museum or opening up a box with a shipment from a new museum, the process for restoration is almost always the same, Correa-Salas said.

A sketchbook sits beside him at his workspace. It’s filled with his design solutions for how to fix certain instruments.

First, he researches the materials of the instrument, the body of the instrument and where the instrument came from — a wall of bookshelves in the conservation lab is filled with books detailing instruments particular to specific regions and cultures.

“You have to understand the materials used in order to proceed,” Correa-Salas said.

Then, he plugs information about the instrument into the computer, detailing how it arrived — and later on, he’ll record the conservation process.

Some instruments take up to a month to restore, he explained. The process integrates architecture, engineering, design and ultimately, his love for music.

“I love discovering how they’re made and what happens when someone touches an instrument,” Correa-Salas said. “I love the music. To be able to restore an instrument that is unplayable to a place where it can play again is a great satisfaction. First, to be part of its history. And second, to give it life again. It fills me with satisfaction — and joy, definitely.”

 

 

How to choose a car audio system

With all the technology in new vehicles, it’s easy to overlook the stereo system. But for some – and certainly for music freaks like me – the car interior is the last bastion of uninterrupted music listening in a world full of distractions. The experience is different than enjoying tunes at home or even with high-end headphones since a vehicle interior is akin to a private listening space and, despite inherent wind and road noise, music always seems to sound better with asphalt whizzing by under your feet.

Automakers have stepped up their audio game to the point that ripping out stock components and installing aftermarket gear has become futile for most new-car buyers. While you can always get better sound from the aftermarket, it will cost you more, may permanently alter your vehicle and can cause hassles when you bring your car in for service – all for mostly marginal gains in audio quality. Like squeezing a bit more performance out of your engine, you can quickly reach a point of diminishing returns in terms of cost-benefit ratio.

Audio Arms Race

If you decide to avoid the aftermarket route, when shopping for a new vehicle you really don’t have much choice other than the system that comes standard with the car or a premium system available either as an option or included on higher-end trims. Premium systems generally perform better than standard systems because they typically have more speakers and amplifier power (measured in watts).

Luxury car makers have been engaged in an audio arms race for bragging rights over the greatest number of speakers and highest amplifier power. Despite this, having more speakers and power doesn’t always equal better performance.

The latest Mark Levinson system in the fifth-generation Lexus LS, for example, has a 16-channel, 2,400-watt amplifier powering 23 speakers in 16 locations throughout the flagship sedan. While the Mark Levinson systems are indeed among the best-sounding I’ve tested, Acura’s ELS Studio 3D Premium system available in the Acura TLX with “only” 17 speakers and 710 watts outperforms many higher-speaker, higher-powered systems.

It’s not all about the brand

Another potentially misleading audio-quality indicator is branding and basing a buying decision only on the speaker logo alone isn’t recommended.

Speaker Placement and Audio Features

Beyond component specs and brands, also consider how the system is set up. Back in the day, hardcore car audio enthusiasts would go to great lengths – and do major surgery on their vehicle interiors – to get a center-channel speaker in the dash, tweeters in the front-door sail panels or subwoofers up front for better sound.

While center-channel speakers and sail-panel tweeters are now common, only a few automakers, such as Lincoln, offer front-mounted woofers to avoid a disjointed bass-in-the-back sound. Some automakers, such as Land Rover and Acura, also install speakers in the headliner for better sound at each seat. Some are even in the head restraint, as in certain Nissans.

Also look for whether a car audio system has useful sound-shaping features. Many systems use signal processing to tailor the sound to the interior, focusing it for the driver, front-seat passengers or all car occupants. I’m not a fan of the myriad and usually proprietary digital signal processing and virtual surround sound that often adds an artificial tinge to tunes, although some can improve the sound. Most can also, fortunately, be switched off.

Beyond simple bass and treble controls, separate adjustments for midrange and subwoofers are helpful to dial in a better sound. And I like having a graphic equalizer to tweak the sound to my liking, although very few automakers still offer a graphic EQ. BMW is one that does.

Trust Your Ears

Which brings me to my last and best piece of advice when shopping car stereo: trust your ears. At this point I could throw out a bunch of audiophile qualities to look for, such as sound staging, imaging and dynamic headroom – and I’m happy to expound on these and recommend reference recording in the comments section. Ultimately, though, go to a dealer, try out the different systems available and listen for what sounds best to you. Make sure to play the same song from the same source, just as we car and audio system reviewers do. If you’re going to pay $1,000 or more for an upgrade stereo, isn’t it worth a few minutes of listening to your favorite song a few times?

If you like highly compressed, bass-heavy sound and use low-resolution sources such as basic streaming services, audition a system using that material. On the other hand, if you want the best possible sound, test a system using high-resolution streams such as Tidal, lossless FLAC files that some automaker audio systems support via USB, or a CD – if you still have them or can still find a disc drive in a new vehicle.

 

Do Wireless Earbuds Harm Your Brain

A recent TikTok video made the rounds to thousands of users for its argument entitled, “Why you MUST throw away your AirPods.” In it, the user exclaimed that wireless earbuds “literally sit inside your skull and cook your brain” due to the radiation they emit. Similar alarmist videos have been found across various social media platforms, alleging that wireless earbuds can cause cancer, memory loss, fatigue and other health problems.

A few social platforms have removed these videos, citing they spread medical misinformation. But is there any truth to these claims?

Turns out, the answer isn’t entirely clear-cut, but these are prevalent uncertainties right now. “This is a very common worry and a question that I hear often from my patients: They want to know if their phones or earbuds caused their brain cancer,” says Naveed Wagle, MD, a neuro-oncologist at Pacific Brain Tumor Center, Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. “The short answer is it’s probably not the sole cause,” Dr. Wagle says, “but we don’t have enough information yet to say for sure or to know if it’s a contributing factor.”

Despite how ubiquitous they’ve become among consumers, this is relatively new technology—when you think about it, widespread cell phone use only dates back about 20 years. And while wireless technology has existed since the late 1990s, wireless earbuds have only come on the scene in the past few years. This short timeframe means that there’s a lot scientists still just don’t know about the long-term health effects, especially for people who use them for hours every day.

For the moment, here’s what the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says about wireless devices and your health:

“Currently no scientific evidence establishes a causal link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses. Those evaluating the potential risks of using wireless devices agree that more and longer-term studies should explore whether there is a better basis for [radio frequency] safety standards than is currently used.”

The link between wireless earbuds and cancer
To start, a quick physics lesson: Wireless devices use bluetooth technology. Bluetooth allows these electronics to exchange information over short ranges, like the distance from your phone to your head.

The U.K.’s Institute of Physics explains that bluetooth emits a low amount of radiation in the form of ultrahigh frequency radio waves ranging from 2.402 gigahertz (which equates to 2.4 billion waves per second) to 2.48 gigahertz.

Worth mentioning is that wireless earbuds emit significantly less radiation than phones; in fact, a 2019 study published in Environmental Research found that bluetooth headphones emitted 10 to 400 times less radiation than smartphones. That’s a significant difference between the two.

Does that make either of these devices bad for you? While it might seem natural to hear “radiation” and think Cancer!, cancer is not an inevitable consequence of using these wireless devices. In general, most of us are exposed to low amounts of radiation daily, including from our computers and the sun.

The link between wireless earbuds and cancer
To start, a quick physics lesson: Wireless devices use bluetooth technology. Bluetooth allows these electronics to exchange information over short ranges, like the distance from your phone to your head.

The U.K.’s Institute of Physics explains that bluetooth emits a low amount of radiation in the form of ultrahigh frequency radio waves ranging from 2.402 gigahertz (which equates to 2.4 billion waves per second) to 2.48 gigahertz.

Worth mentioning is that wireless earbuds emit significantly less radiation than phones; in fact, a 2019 study published in Environmental Research found that bluetooth headphones emitted 10 to 400 times less radiation than smartphones. That’s a significant difference between the two.

Does that make either of these devices bad for you? While it might seem natural to hear “radiation” and think Cancer!, cancer is not an inevitable consequence of using these wireless devices. In general, most of us are exposed to low amounts of radiation daily, including from our computers and the sun.

There is some scientific evidence that there may be a link between exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the range used by wireless earbuds and cancer. A 2020 rodent study by the National Toxicology Program found evidence of an association with malignant heart tumors, and some evidence of an association with malignant tumors in the brain and adrenal glands, among rats that had been exposed to RFR.

However, several observational studies of humans have found no increase in cancerous tumors, even among participants with high cell phone use.

Know your personal risk factors
“A lower risk of cancer doesn’t equal no risk, and it can vary from person to person,” Dr. Wagle says.

How much radiation that you personally are exposed to from your wireless devices depends on how long you’re using them, how closely they’re positioned to your head, and the type of device you’re using.

In addition, Dr. Wagle says, you should consider your personal risk profile for different types of cancer, including your family history, weight, diet, exercise, illnesses, and other known risk factors for cancer.

Health problems from wireless earbuds
Aside from cancer, wireless earbuds can cause several health problems, says Bria Collins, Au.D, CCC-A, a licensed audiologist and Associate Director of Audiology Practices for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. In fact—because wireless earbud use has grown so popular—Collins says the following health problems have recently been on the rise:

Hearing loss
“When you wear ear buds, it puts the sound source in closer proximity to the eardrum, which can increase the intensity louder than intended,” says Collins. “Over time, this causes hearing loss.”

Tinnitus
Earbud use increases your risk of tinnitus, or a constant ringing in your ears, Collins says.

Wax obstruction
Earwax buildup can be an issue, depending on the type of earbud and the shape and size of your ear canal, she explains. “Inserting the ear tip into the ear over and over, or pushing in the tip too deep into the ear canal, can build up a wall of wax that can occlude the ear and cause reduced hearing,” she explains.

Infection
Constant earbud use also introduces germs into your ear canal where they grow in the warm, moist environment of your inner ear, which can be a catalyst for ear infections, she says. (Hint: This is why you should never ever share your earbuds.)

Pain
If you wear earbuds too much or if they do not fit your ears properly, they can cause some pain and discomfort and occasionally sores in the opening of your ear.

The solution? Don’t keep your earbuds in for hours
If our experts could recommend one thing to everyone who uses wireless earbuds, it is this: Stop keeping your earbuds in your ears when they’re not in use.

“Long term use of earbuds can create a constant loop of noise exposure,” she says. “Plus, I know a lot of people get used to listening through the earbud and if there is other noise or activity in their environment, they may steadily increase the volume.”

Sonos may have cracked Wi-Fi headphones

The rumoured first set of Sonos wireless headphones could rely on Wi-Fi to connect to the playback device, getting around the audio giant’s ardent dislike of Bluetooth.

Digital Trends has taken a closer look at a patent granted last year, which suggests the company may be looking for a way to integrate Wi-Fi into the fray, just like the company’s vast array of popular multi-room speakers.

Traditionally, headphone makers have eschewed using Wi-Fi because it isn’t as power efficient as Bluetooth and would require an increase in weight to maintain the same battery life. However, should Sonos get around the technical challenges, it would open the door to true lossless audio content without the need for wires. Bluetooth, by comparison, just doesn’t have the bandwidth to manage it.

Judging by the patent filed in Germany, Sonos is exploring introducing wireless internet connectivity to by pass those limitations.

One (translated) sentence reads: “…a consumer expects from Wi-Fi-enabled headphones the same type of reliable internet connection to their wireless access point that they experience when using a tablet”.

The patent itself is called “Cable retraction mechanism for headphone devices” and pertains to the extra engineering required to bring of Wi-Fi antennae to a set of headphones.

As Digital Trends points out, adding Wi-Fi connectivity with any considerable range, would require an antenna in both ear cups. Otherwise the signal would need to pass through the wearer’s head on occasions. This would require a different hidden cabling system running between the earcups. It would be crucial to ensure this cable is protected when the headphones are folded and unfolded.

The patent continues: “…a cable assembly containing each of the required conductors for the improved wireless headphones discussed in the examples described herein may be greater than 4 mm in diameter. This is almost twice the diameter of a typical headband cable in a Bluetooth-only headphone.”

Denon Home 4.1 audio system

Denon’s Home Sound Bar 550 is two things. It’s a soundbar, quite a narrow lozenge shape of a bar, the same width as a Sonos Beam but slightly deeper, and taller, at all of 75mm. But it’s also a HEOS speaker, meaning it has the HEOS streaming and multiroom platform inside, which gives app-based access to a variety of music streaming services, also the ability to network with other HEOS speakers through the home, or in the same room.

Denon’s Home Sound Bar 550 is two things. It’s a soundbar, quite a narrow lozenge shape of a bar, the same width as a Sonos Beam but slightly deeper, and taller, at all of 75mm. But it’s also a HEOS speaker, meaning it has the HEOS streaming and multiroom platform inside, which gives app-based access to a variety of music streaming services, also the ability to network with other HEOS speakers through the home, or in the same room.

The soundbar
Though we have previously heard all three individual HEOS-equipped wireless speakers in Denon’s Home range, we have not had the pleasure of the Sound Bar 550’s company, so rather than plug up the whole system, we elected to listen first to the soundbar alone. This has one HDMI input to which a source can be connected, an optical audio input too, plus one analogue minijack input and a USB slot which can play files from a stick or drive.

But for our initial set-up we connected only the HDMI output to our TV. With both bar and TV supporting eARC (the enhanced Audio Return Channel), we could then play in stereo or surround from TV to soundbar.

If your TV supports only ARC rather than the new eARC, then you’re probably limited to sending stereo sound this way. Does this make a difference, given that the soundbar operates only in stereo anyway? It has two channels, with a 19mm tweeter at each end of the bar’s frontage (see right), then inside those a pair of 55mm mid/bass drivers for each channel, and then a passive radiator on either side of the iddle. A slightly curious non-symmetrical third passive radiator sits at the back left.

Even though the drivers are configured in stereo, it is possible that the processing used within the bar can achieve better results when given a multichannel signal. The literature implies so, saying that when the bar receives Dolby Atmos content, “the Dolby Speaker Virtualizer function operates automatically, and 3D playback is performed”. There is a similar Virtual:X function for DTS:X content.

You’ll certainly need a multi-channel source signal if you’re planning to go the next step and add those wireless Home 150 speakers for rears. So if you don’t have eARC on your TV, you can give the bar a multichannel signal by plugging a Blu-ray player or media player (e.g. AppleTV) into the bar’s HDMI input, delivering direct a multichannel Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack.

Set-up of the bar uses the HEOS app; this was straightforward enough, and once we had the bar on our Wi-Fi network (Ethernet is also available) we were prompted to make the usual firmware updates – “multiple updates”, it said, warning it could take a while. We left it while the updates were running. Forgot about it, in fact, until later that evening when playing a music video for a guest, playing it loud, thoroughly enjoying it, we realised it was coming from the bar. It sounded exceptional. ‘Go bar!’, we thought.

The next morning we settled into some serious listening, sending the soundbar Atmos soundtracks from Marvel content on Disney+. It performed with a full and spacious sound, solidly underpinned, too, and remember this is without the subwoofer yet unpacked.

It delivered the richness of Tom Hiddleston’s outrageously deep voice in the last episode of Loki, and the deep brass notes through Loki’s closing theme. There was no thinness to big action scenes, no softness to fight sequences – this is the best and certainly the largest soundbar performance we’ve heard from a lone lozenge-type design.

Perhaps we should not have been surprised we were so impressed. Other EISA editors had sung its praises during deliberations for the 2021-2022 EISA Awards, eventually resulting in the ’550 winning EISA’s Smart Soundbar of the Year award. We had been surprised at the time, given it was only a stereo configuration. Now it made sense; this was a great sound.

We spent a morning streaming Tidal music via the HEOS app; at times it sounded a little flat, but given a good mix the bar could open up some nice musical pictures, and played musically enough to be enjoyed, if not to truly inspire.

As usual there are various sound options which aim to assist, but which might equally spoil things. With Tidal we did prefer the ‘Music’ option to the thinner ‘Pure’ setting. There’s also a four-position ‘dialog enhancer’ to crisp up dialogue; with TV and movie soundtracks the highest setting lifts speech considerably, but at the cost of a little sibilance.

The ‘night’ setting clears out bass that might disturb the neighbours, but that’s unlikely to be required when using the bar alone. There are simple bass and treble EQ sliders in the app, and bass adjustment buttons on the little remote, though using the remote for these adjustments is hard because there’s no visual feedback. Select ‘Night’ and the bar’s blue LED flashes. Deselect it and it flashes again – but is it off or on? No way to tell. Happily the HEOS app is your friend here, showing all your status choices.

Among all these settings, with a dedicated button on the remote control as well, is one that we suspected might prove useful – ‘Pure’, which the manual describes as “Enjoy sound that is faithful to the original source”. We liked the promise of that. But there was also, in the app, ‘Direct’, which “performs playback of a multi-channel signal without performing virtual processing. This mode can be selected for multi-channel signal input.” We liked the sound of that, too. It was clearly time to add the rear speakers.

Denon Home 150
The Home 150 is the smallest of the three wireless speakers in the Denon Home range. A solid and substantial object, with a 12cm-square footprint and 19cm height, it has the same sturdy fabric wrap as the soundbar, with a screw-threaded mounting hole at the rear should you wish to hang your Home 150s on a wall.

Below that the connections panel offers a minijack auxiliary input, a USB-A slot and the option of Ethernet networking. There are two buttons down there, one to launch Bluetooth pairing, and the other a ‘Connect’ button to connect the Home 150 with your HEOS app.

Were the Home 150’s sole purpose to hang around in the corner of the room corner for a surround soundtrack, then this might seem a tech-heavy anvil to crack a surround-sound nut. But these are neat little wireless speakers in their own right, and can be used individually. So in day-to-day use you could keep one to use in the bedroom, say, and one in the kitchen, with the soundbar on TV duties. Then bring them all together for movie night, grouped into a four-channel system.

Playing solo, each Home 150 is an impressive little speaker – they’re mono, having a single 25mm tweeter and an 89mm woofer, but with scale and weight beyond the expectations of their size, a remarkably rich sound, even out in free space on a sturdy stand or table. Ultimately in size and power they have their limits, of course, but that point is impressively loud for a speaker so small.

You can also pair them into stereo – still more impressive for music this way, with far more power and energy, and a full stereo spread of music. And if you’re adding Denon’s wireless subwoofer to your TV system, then you could at any time choose to pair that sub to with one Home 150, or with the stereo pair, to fill out this sound still further.

While that sub-sats combo might not be our first choice as a way to spend AU$1897 for stereo music, it’s effectively a freebie, a spare system created by deconstructing your movie system when not in use, while keeping the solo soundbar in the lounge.

The full 4.1
Meanwhile, let’s hear the full monty, pairing the Home Sound Bar 550 (two channels) with both Home 150s (wireless rear channels) and the AU$1099 wireless Denon DSW-1H subwoofer.

This subwoofer is sizable, but can lie flat or stand vertically, its design harking back to the former HEOS speaker range, and its depth coming from dual custom 133mm drivers and an unspecified Class-D amplifier within.

We confess we had problems pairing all these up into one system; the pairing failed repeatedly, because (it turned out after many hours) the units weren’t all on the same firmware. Yet they’d all received an update, and the HEOS app was telling us everything was up to date.

By repeated attempts we got the Home 150s to update, and the subwoofer updated itself overnight when we left the ‘auto update’ option. So our advice if this happens to you is to give up, go to bed, and try again in the morning! Our advice to Denon’s HEOS crew (which coordinates the HEOS world from Sydney) would be to make their app a little smarter at resolving such problems.

The next day, however, Atmos soundtracks flowed freely from the TV down eARC to the Home 550 Sound Bar, which wirelessly shared them with the rears and subwoofer. The HEOS app allows adjustment of distances and levels, even the crossover frequency.

As the front bar doesn’t push sound sideways in any particular manner, it makes sense to put the rears wide, and this delivered a fairly immersive soundfield with Disney+’s Jungle Cruise, the rear atmosphere awash with toucans and water swooshes, while the subwoofer made itself known under the throaty growl of Frank’s pet jaguar, the torpedo explosion, the river rapids, and plenty more.

But subwoofers and rears are for more than special effects; they also opened and strengthened the sound throughout, deepening voices and gunshots, opening up atmospheres and more, though we should note that Atmos soundtracks only ever emerged from front and rear; there was no magically processed height, nor much width, delivered by the soundbar.

We confess we deliberately ran the rears a little hot, pushed up to accentuate the surround; it may not be entirely correct, but it can be more fun. Conversely we levelled the subwoofer where we could just hear it, which is less intrusive.

This was a good recipe for surround music too, though we brought the rears back to parity with the front. Surround music in Atmos is now available from Apple Music and Tidal, while any number of DVDs and Blu-rays will deliver surround music in various formats. We enjoyed the latest Atmos mixes of The Beatles ‘Let It Be’, and then our favourite, the soundtrack to ‘Love’, its rear content swirling behind us, and a good amount of level available.

Final verdict
The Denon combo doesn’t rival a proper surround system, and even if all you want is a soundbar system with wireless rears and subwoofer, we’d probably point you elsewhere.

But what makes Denon’s Home combo so impressive is its versatility. Today it’s a surround system, tomorrow it’s a multiroom system that the whole family can use, the next day you can have two Home 150s in stereo with a subwoofer.

All of these enjoyable systems can be regrouped at will using the app, and all provide a high quality of entertainment, backed by the powerful HEOS platform’s access to streaming and networked music, including AirPlay streaming and Alexa voice control via built-in microphones. It’s fun for all the family.