Amazon’s Echo Frames helped me deal with tinnitus

I had little interest in Alexa Enabled Echo Frames until Amazon loaned me a pair to review. After all, does anyone really need Alexa on their glasses? But as I continue to ponder the merits of Alexa all day, I’ve found at least one compelling use for Amazon’s smart glasses: as a surprisingly effective tinnitus aid.

First, a little information: I have been dealing with mild to moderate tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, for those lucky enough not to know, for about six months. Basically, it’s a sharp”eeeeee” with varying degrees of pitch and volume. On good days, I barely notice the sound; on bad days, it’s more or less in my face.

Tinnitus is a distressingly common ailment and is usually a symptom of hearing loss, either natural (due to old age, I’m 52) or otherwise (such as prolonged exposure to headphones). Other causes range from ear infections and certain medications (including NSAIDs like aspirin) to high blood pressure and even (ugh!) brain tumors. While some episodes of tinnitus are temporary, others are permanent.

There is no cure for tinnitus (at least, not yet), but there are treatments, the most common of which are in-ear devices, similar to hearing aids, that emit specially tuned sounds that mask ringing in the ears.

echo frames side Amazon

Amazon’s Echo Frames have, in addition to Alexa on board, small speakers built into their arms.

In addition to an in-ear device (which is usually prescribed by an audiologist), you can also use an earphone or even a speaker to produce soothing sounds. But walking through the day with a screeching Bluetooth speaker (cricket sounds work best for me) or AirPods stuck in your ears can be unwieldy, not to mention distracting to others.

Get into Amazon Echo Frames, which, in addition to coming with Alexa on board, also has four “micro-speakers” built into the arms (also known as “temples”) of the glasses, two for each ear. These outdoor speakers are designed to direct sound into your ears (using a technology called “beamforming”), and if you set the volume correctly, you’ll be the only one hearing the sound.

When connected to your phone via Bluetooth, the Echo Frames ($250) act much like a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and it’s easy enough to dial in your favorite tinnitus-masking sound and stream it through the microphone’s microspeakers. Frame.

Even better, the frames are unobtrusive; I don’t feel self-conscious when I use them in front of my family or on the street. To the outside world, I’m simply wearing glasses (and you can order prescription glasses for them too).

Now, the Echo Frames can’t duplicate the sounds of a decent Bluetooth headset (they’re a bit lacking in bass to begin with), but they’re fine for a playlist of tinnitus-masking tracks, providing just enough volume to give a bit of peace.

Of course, battery life is an issue. I’ve found that the Echo Frames’ batteries die after about four hours of continuous playback (matching Amazon’s estimates). Thankfully, the Frames I’ve been testing have charged fairly quickly, typically returning to 80 percent charge in about an hour, and the four-hour runtime is usually enough to deal with the worst of your tinnitus flare-ups. .

It’s worth noting that the Echo Frames aren’t the only glasses with built-in speakers. There is also the Bluetooth enabled Mark Bose, which come with built-in Bose speakers, while Ray-Ban offers its Stories glasses equipped with camera and speaker for facebook I haven’t tested those frameworks but they might work too.

I’ve yet to finish my full Amazon Echo Frames review (stay tuned), but as a tinnitus aid, they’re getting an early thumbs-up from me; in fact, I’ve already ordered my own pair.

Note: While Echo Frames have helped my tinnitus, they are not a substitute for seeking medical help. If you have been experiencing ringing, buzzing, or “buzzing” in your ears for more than a few days, call your doctor.

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