Yamaha’s new earbuds boast top specs, but is ‘Listening Care’ really necessary?

Yamaha has been busily proclaiming that it wants to protect our hearing health with volume-conscious tech baked in to headphones since 2020. Now, the successors to the company’s October 2021 TW-E3B earbuds are here, and it’s the same story: Listening Care promises to future-proof our hearing via a “4-band parametric equalizer (PEQ) to apply precise settings at each level in order to produce the best tonal balance at every volume” – which basically means you should not have to crank up the volume to hear those bass drops or cymbal crashes. Even if you want to. 

And it comes in a premium guise too! The company’s higher-end 2020-issue YH-E700A and EP-E70A wireless headphones went a step further by taking into account the loudness of the music being listening to, plus the background noise. In those models, Listening Care was apparently able to analyze the average volume of the content every 0.7 milliseconds and make adjustments slowly over time for a natural effect. Using the inbuilt mics on the headphones, it also calculated the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio of the content to environmental noise to “subtly adjust the volume accordingly for an optimized listening experience”.

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