Bose Launches Noise-Masking Sleepbuds

Bose is rolling out a new set of wireless earbuds that are both unusual and innovative.

Unusual because they’re not designed for music.

Innovative because they’re small enough to fit comfortably in your ear and designed to promote a good night’s sleep by shielding you from any number of slumber-wrecking distractions, ranging from a snoring partner to loud neighbors.

But they go further than merely masking outside sounds. As Bose puts it, the Sleepbuds ($250) “combine an ultra-comfortable design with soothing sounds to block, cover, and replace the most common noises that interfere with sleep. Every last detail was optimized for one thing — better sleep, all night, every night.”

The tiny earbuds come preloaded with 10 “sleeptracks” that mirror the frequencies of snoring, noisy neighbors, dogs, traffic, and other sonic distractions — hiding them beneath a layer of soothing sounds such as gentle waves or smooth-turning wind turbines.

In contrast to the noise-canceling technology used in the company’s award winning QuietComfort line, the Sleepbuds are the first Bose product to use proprietary noise-masking technology.

“Noise-masking is a science,” said Daniel Lee, systems engineer for Bose Sleepbuds. “It’s more than ambient sound or white noise. You can’t achieve it by simply turning up the volume on calming songs. And depending on the situation, it’s more effective than active noise cancelling — even ours.

“During the day, QuietComfort headphones improve focus and productivity, or let you hear your playlists and calls clearly in loud places. But at night, you’re trying to shut down completely, and the world is naturally more quiet — and when it’s quiet, even the slightest sound seems loud. Bedside machines can’t cover it, earplugs can’t block it, and earbuds meant for sitting, standing, or moving can’t be worn for hours laying down — especially on your side. But Bose sleepbuds can. And if you’re someone who’s tried everything and nothing’s worked, or haven’t tried anything believing nothing will, we made them for you.”

Brian Mulcahey, category director of Wellness at Bose put the Sleepbuds in perspective.

“Sleep deprivation is a growing, global epidemic that impacts our lives and our health. It hits close to home for us, too. For years, our customers, coworkers, friends, and family members have asked us to make a product that helps them fall asleep and stay asleep. We took that seriously, and put together an incredible team of experts in noise management, acoustics, psychoacoustics, electronic miniaturization, wireless in-ear headphones, and neurology. They represent some of the top talent in their fields, and their work inspired our entire company. Because behind the staggering statistics are real people, and this product can be a game changer for many of them.”

Hailed as the smallest Bose product ever made, the Sleepbuds feature new patented ear tips for a “snug, soft, barely-felt fit,” and can run for up to 16 hours.

Each bud weighs only 0.05 ounces and measures just over 0.4 inches wide and high. The buds connect via low-energy Bluetooth with a smartphone or tablet via an exterior laser-etched antenna. Inside, there’s a rechargeable silver-zinc battery, a miniscule transducer, and a micro-circuit board with flash memory to store the noise-masking sound files. Both attach to a new noise-isolating StayHear+ Sleep tip — another line of defense that creates a physical barrier to unwanted sound. The tips are soft and pliable and optimized to stay in place all night, regardless of sleep position.

The gloss-white Sleepbuds are iOS and Android compatible and include the Bose Sleep app that makes it easy to update, control, and select preferences, including the sleeptrack and volume that works best for a particular environment; the app also functions as an alarm clock. Bose includes a brushed aluminum travel/charging case.

Sleepbud prototypes were introduced in November 2017 on Indiegogo, and sold-out in six days. Non-production units were sent to owners in March 2018, who provided feedback on their performance so improvements could be made to final production units — which all Indiegogo customers will receive as a replacement, free of charge.

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