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Cool Stuff: Aftershokz, a true blessing

Terry Fred Vine learned while visiting his Coolio family that Aftershokz are so much more important than just wonderful great sounding bluetooth headphones.  [Photo: Barry Markowitz]

It is a very rare moment and It is beyond awesome when a Cool Stuff review and column can improve the quality of many lives.  And yes...I do also specifically mean Territorial lives.

The very kind folks at Aftershokz have created bluetooth headphones that conduct sound through the bone mass in front of your ear, which has huge positive repercussions.

If you are driving, conventional in ear or over ear headphones block the sound of approaching emergency vehicle sirens.  In some jurisdictions you might even be breaking the law by wearing conventional headphones or something in your ear obstructing natural sound.  With Aftershokz, no obstruction, issue is a non issue.

But the real genius and significance is that some who suffer from hearing loss are able to circumvent the problem via sound conduction with the innovative Aftershokz.

Legendary knife designer and pal Ken Onion, was the benefactor of Cool Stuff's personal Aftershokz demos.  After a day of playing tunes with his new ear toys, Ken confided that it was the first time in 24 years he has heard a sound in his bad ear.

Ken was in a serious motorcycle accident which eventually caused nerve damage.  It was an emotion filled joyful moment to watch Ken's eyes grow wide and misty as he was able to hear again.

Nick Morciglio of Aftershokz confirmed similar happy customer experiences, while cautioning against viewing Aftershokz as a medically endorsed cure. 

"We do have a strong hearing-impaired community that uses our headphones, as many of these individuals are able to hear their music and phone calls better with bone conduction than traditional air conduction headphones.

As a sports headphone company, we don’t have the background or expertise to confirm whether our headphones will work for any particular individual or medical condition, but what we can say is that hearing-impaired individuals who benefit the most from our headphones tend to be those with damaged ear drums and healthy cochlea."

Nick makes clear Aftershokz are no replacement for sophisticated hearing aids, but coupled with a smartphone or tablet app, Aftershokz can improve the lives of some of hearing impaired friends (without the $3,000 plus rarely on island attainable outlay for hearing aids).

"While AfterShokz headphones are not designed to be hearing devices, we do have plenty of customers who use them to assist with hearing, mainly by pairing them to their phone and using a sound amplifier app like Petralex. These apps use the mic on the phone to pick up surrounding sounds and transmit it through the headphones."

Cool Stuff has previously gathered and gifted smartphones that ring with a flashing light to help some of our deaf American Samoa friends.  I have one Pago acquaintance and a relative in Savaii I hope to help with Aftershokz.

Factory seconds at a deal please Aftershokz?   Let's change some island lives at $129 instead of $3,000 hearing aid costs!