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Selective hearing headphones

Not what spouses & kids have built-in
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Active noise cancelling is normally used when you want to protect your hearing. Sometimes, this is combined with a radio transceiver. However, there are also many high-noise environments where you actually want to hear the noise, e.g. Concerts, Discos and sports events, but where you might occasionally want to hear your companions over the roar.

For these situations, I propose a set of headphones that normally let ambient noise through* unless someone on your frequency speaks and then it mutes the ambient noise for crystal clear communication.

*There is an optional attenuation dial, in case you are developing a throbbing headache.

This idea was inspired by the "Personal Mute" and "SpeakOver Music" ideas; I'm surprised that it's not been baked or halfbaked (if it is, let me know)

FloridaManatee, Mar 10 2003

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       I thought this was a knock-off of the 'la-la-la, i'm not listening' headphones from a UK bank commercial. But it isn't. Have a toasted treat.
sambwiches, Mar 10 2003
  

       One of the joys of wearing a hearing aid is the volume knob - another joy is the on/off switch.
thumbwax, Mar 10 2003
  

       Norton Sonic II – US Pat RE 28560. They work.
Shz, Mar 10 2003
  

       Wasn't there something like this already halfbaked? I think we discussed Bluetooth, infrared, etc.
half, Mar 10 2003
  

       awesome idea, but wouldnt it look kinda odd going to a concert with headphones on? I mean, some people just wouldnt understand. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet idea though.
Seafris, Mar 12 2003
  
      
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