Health Devices
a woman wearing earbuds and on her cellphone on a train.

How Biometric Earbuds Are Changing Real-Time Health Monitoring

Discover How Biometric Earbuds are Changing the Landscape of Health Surveillance

Like GearBrain on Facebook

Biometrics has become integral to modern technology as the need and desire to monitor health grows. Many devices have been on the market, with people hunting for the most functional and comfortable variant. Earbuds are a considerable contender as they make strides in health surveillance. Here's how they're changing real-time health monitoring.

The Progress of Health Monitoring

Real-time health monitoring systems were first developed to measure patients and their physical and cognitive status. They came in the form of bigger machinery attached to people before moving to more user-friendly handheld devices. This is under the precedence that someone is in critical condition and is staying solely in bed.

However, monitoring health in that traditional way can be restrictive regarding mobility. That's when biometric wearables started joining the conversation. A mix of health and technology in different devices enabled people to stay mobile. Tracking steps, checking heart rates, and gaining other fitness data became possible.

Health monitoring has become an everyday part of many households' lives, especially after the pandemic. About one in three people in the United States use a wearable device, a smartwatch, or a wristband.

The Utilization of Biometric Earbuds

Wireless earbuds are no stranger to health care, especially with their use as hearing aids. However, multiple variations are now looking to integrate the technology as a biometric device. Apple recently filed a patent application to integrate AirPods with fitness monitoring firmware.

An earbud-based fitness monitoring program with biometric sensors is already impressive. Integrating it with the current wireless audio features can offer a unique experience that blends leisure with health.

Proven Benefits of Biometric Earbuds

Even though Apple's health monitoring AirPods are still in the works, there's already evidence of how beneficial biometric earbud technology is in health care. Knowing these advantages can help you learn whether this is a suitable biometric device.

Continuous Wear

Biometric devices worn on the wrist are more or less safe, but comfort is a different story. They can get caught on clothing or other items around you, depending on how often you move.

On top of that, most smartwatches or bands must also be worn tightly to measure your biometrics. Wearing earbuds is more comfortable since they nestle in your cavum concha or inner ear.

Increased Reliability

A study developed a wearable biometric ear-based device called the HowMi. It utilizes the position of the earbud by the cavum concha and provides more accurate measurements of temperature and heart rate.

The HowMi blends biometric sensors and electronic signal processing to achieve this. Because of its increased accuracy, biometric earbuds can be much more reliable regarding real-time health monitoring.

Simplified Authentication

Another study with an ear-based wearable notes how helpful the tool can be regarding user authentication. The EarDynamic earbuds utilize motions in the ear canal to verify that someone is speaking for authentication. Apple AirPods are also projected to have this feature in the future.

The Gaps to Address With Biometric Earbuds

a close up photo of Voyager Free 60+ UC earbudsThe controls on the Voyager Free 60+ UC earebuds are on the side: a button or sliding motion control the earbuds GearBrain

While biometric earbuds are making a notable shift in the healthcare landscape, there are still some points of improvement to work on. Ideally, future health monitoring wearables of this nature will address them and make the device more user-friendly.

Slight Hearing Loss

While biometrics earbuds seem to be the most comfortable option, it's important to note that the study on HowMi notes a loss of 0.56 dB when the item is worn. For people who are dealing with hearing problems, even this fraction of a change may pose a problem.

It will be interesting to see how Apple will handle this inconvenience, as its patent application includes a hearing smart mechanism. The earbuds will safeguard people from noise-induced hearing loss by automatically adjusting the volume levels in the surrounding environment.

At the moment, there are alternative designs for biometric earwear. Bone conduction headphones can clear the hearing loss problem since there's no obstruction to the inner ear. However, the issue of external discomfort and pressure arises once again.

Some people who wore headsets that utilized bone conduction also shared how the wearable made them dizzy due to the vibrations. There's also some skin irritation, similar to smartwatches problems with smartwatches.

Limited Pulse Oximetry

While HowMi also regarded its products as reliable temperature and heart rate measurements, it acknowledges limited pulse oximetry in its device. This isn't an isolated case, as other biometric wearables on the market are not entirely accurate, either.

A study that assesses various consumer smartwatches and their blood oxygen saturation measurements highlights critical differences in measurability across devices. For instance, the Apple Watch Series 7 only had an 88.9% success rate with its attempted measurements.

High Price Point

Newer technological developments come with an additional price. Valencell, a pioneer in heart rate sensor technology, teamed up with Sonion, a manufacturer of hearing healthcare devices. Together, they created BiometRIC, their version of the biometric earbud.

Valencell acknowledges that adding biometrics features increases the retail cost of the product due to production. The brand also highlights its effort to make biometric headsets more affordable, currently pricing them at $99 a pair.

Another Step to Health Monitoring

Biometric earbuds make considerable strides in health monitoring. They can be a great alternative to other variations on the market. However, there's much more to do to improve them and make them accessible to the general market.

Check out The GearBrain; our compatibility find an engine that helps users find, buy, and connect any smart device, including biometric wearables. You can also find wearables that are compatible with your smartphone, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.

How to Find Products in The GearBrain, Our Compatibility Find Engine for Smart DevicesGearBrain helps simplify the Internet of Things or new connected devices for consumers. The GearBrain is the first and only ...

Like GearBrain on Facebook
The Conversation (0)

GearBrain Compatibility Find Engine

A pioneering recommendation platform where you can research, discover, buy, and learn how to connect and optimize smart devices.

Join our community! Ask and answer questions about smart devices and save yours in My Gear.

Top Stories

Weekly Deals