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INSIDE MUSIC: What if you could improve the sound of your voice almost instantly?
By Rosemary Conte
originally published: 07/24/2018
There’s an abundance of tech gear and gadgets on the market for instrumentalists to alter their sound, but there are few options for singers and speakers. Here is one that I and my students have used to great effect.
Introducing….HearFones! No wires, no electronics at all. It’s a lightweight, acoustic headset instrument that enables a person singing or speaking to hear the actual sound of his voice.
To be clear, this is a practice tool….to improve vocal technique, and not to be used by a singer in performance. However, a drummer could get away with it live, as drummers often wear headphones. But it would look silly on an out front singer.
The headset is used by amateur and professional singers, speakers, actors, vocal coaches, speech/language pathologist patients and new-language learners to build new, or to modify existing muscle-memory patterns. This device is also effective in helping modify breathing when singing. (In my teaching practice, breathing is one of the two most frequent problems of most singers.) HearFones quickly helps a singer to “hear” the problem.
The novel invention has been used to teach children with learning disabilities and auditory processing issues how to blend in with their school singing group. Large youth and adult choruses have found HearFones valuable for creating a unified sound, as the users learn to automatically adjust their technique for a better sound.
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Normally, we hear our voices through our esophagus. We don’t know how our voices sound to others. HearFones is a tool that allows us to hear clearly the real and total sound of our own voice instead of hearing only the reflections of our singing in a room. It’s a better and truer sound than hand cupping behind our ears.
HearFones work by redirecting sound binaurally from the mouth to the ears using high quality plastic ellipsoidal reflectors that focus sound at the user’s mouth and at the ear canals. So instead of dissipating in the air, sound goes directly to the ears. And here’s the important news: Using this device, singers and speakers intuitively modify their vocal habits to create a voice that they prefer.
One vocal expert remarked that, “Not since Guido d’Arezzo’s music notation in 1030 has there been such a help for the singer.” You know how we’re often skeptical of positive product reviews? I researched HearFones and came across superlatives like amazing and incredible. And when I put my HearFone headset on my student and she began to sing, she said exactly that!
I haven’t tried recording wearing this device, but I think it would be helpful, especially when having to record with a vocal impairment…or, as sometimes happens to me, my breathing might be “labored” due to a sudden asthma attack. That happened to me when I was recording in a studio’s enclosed vocal booth that was very dusty.
When Elaine Silver, popular folk singer visited me last summer and put on my HearFones and sang, she was so impressed with what she heard, she immediately took out her cell phone and ordered the item from Amazon as a birthday present for her musician husband. Visiting me this summer, she reported that her husband loves his HearFones.
This product was designed by a U.S. company and is manufactured in Maine. The item sells online for $43 plus shipping and handling, or check your favorite music store or other online vendor. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at www.HearFones.com
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