First look: Nuheara IQbuds smart Bluetooth ear buds do more than just music

Improve hearing in noisy places. Enhance speech.

In the sometimes-iffy world of crowdfunding, getting your hands on a working prototype well in advance of the end of the campaign is the exception, not the rule. But I recently had an opportunity to see and hear Nuheara’s Bluetooth IQbuds, which have garnered more than US$620,000 during their Indiegogo campaign (against an initial goal of just US$50,000). There are no sure things, but if the crowdfunders end up with nothing more than prototypes like I listened to, they should be happy.

I also met with Nuheara's founders and learned that the company is listed on the Australian stock exchange. The IQBuds fit in your ear, but I found them to be quite comfortable. You put them in, twist them back, and they sit securely. Turning them on is a simple matter of holding your fingers to the outer shell for five seconds. The shipping model will have user-editable presets, but the prototype offered three demo modes: one for normal listening, a second that simply amplified (or blocked) everything (like a hearing aid), and speech enhancement.

nuheara plug exploded view.278 Nuheara

There’s a mic, speaker, and a bunch of silicon in the IQBuds, but they’re still light and small enough to be comfortable in the ear.

The speech enhancement was impressive. While there were slight Doppler/phase artifacts, the overall enhancement of dialog and reduction of background noise was quite good. I was grinning during the experience. Only driving really fast on a track normally does that.

I didn’t listen to any music (my bad) but there was decent top end in the overall sound, which is usually a good sign. Nuheara promises that sonority will be top-notch in the shipping product. At US$299 retail, it had better be.

Android and iOS apps will ship alongside the IQbuds; these will allow you to adjust the balance of background noise and voice, fine-tune affected frequencies, and then save your settings as those aforementioned presets: restaurant, bus stop, construction site, concert, etc. Run time is expected to be around 4 hours, and a portable USB-charging case with its own internal battery providing another 12 hours of juice will be included.

I’ve never been much for anything other than over-ear headphones, and those only for not disturbing the neighbors or reducing bleed into microphones. But I’m anxiously awaiting the release version of the finished IQBuds and doing a full review. Hearing enhancement/protection/listening buds. Products that solve problems. Good stuff. Shipments are currently scheduled to commence in December 2016.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags earbuds

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon L. Jacobi

TechHive (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?