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Home / WorldTech / The Hearts app wants to distract you from chatty co-workers: Review

The Hearts app wants to distract you from chatty co-workers: Review

A fun • unique listening experience • Filters can be adjusted for maximum customization

Didn't really help cut out distractions • Several audio filters were very unpleasant

The Hear app is perfect for a lighthearted and entertaining listening experience. But if your goal is to relax or seriously focus, look elsewhere for help.

Anyone who's ever attempted to write for a living (or for fun) knows there's no such thing as a distraction-free environment. Coffee shops are busy and bustling, offices are full of noisy co-workers, and personal living spaces are packed with potential procrastination options.

Like many people who are easily distracted, I often find myself struggling to give that task to hand me undivided attention. So when I learned about the advanced listening app Hear, created by RjDj, I was intrigued.

Image as something that can "harmonize your listening experience" and "help you to be less distracted and stressed," Hear sounded very promising. I've never been to white noise machines or soothing spa playlists, so the augmented sound aspect of Hear initially had me a bit skeptical. But I hoped the app would help me focus when writing, make public more pleasant to be in, and allow me to filter some of the sounds in my office when I felt I needed an extra level of introspection.

Hear is free and simply designed. It offers seven free sound filters (Super Hearing, Auto Volume, Relax, Happy, Talk, Office, and Sleep) and two additional filters (Trippy and Upbeat) available for $ 1

.99 each. The individual filters each have their pros and cons, so you can get the most complete understanding of the Hear experience I thought it would be best to break the app down by its different listening components.

Getting set up

To start , you can download Hear from the app store. (It's currently only available on iOS.) Be aware that only wired headphones are supported at the moment "because bluetooth audio does not support high quality microphone realtime audio." But Hear audio technicians are reportedly looking into expanding the app's headphone capabilities in the future.

After downloading, you see the app's deep red and orange color theme, and you're guided through a simple setup. You'll be asked to enable your incoming audio to be processed through the app, plug in your headphones, and then be free to swipe between the various filters just like you would on Instagram.

Super Hearing [19659009] After setup, Hear launches right into its Super Hearing filter, which, I must say I was not entirely prepared for.

Super Hearing lets you hear the world "with superhuman detail and quality, which means every keystroke you make or The breath you take is extremely amplified. At first, the heightened hearing incredibly strange – like I'd been transported into a seashell. But you adjust the bass, presence, brilliance, and volume to your liking, it can be pretty damn soothing.

I first tried the filter while I was working from home, and in my secluded environment I really liked the results. It made me feel like a superhero with otherworldly powers, and transformed the clicks of my MacBook Air into an old fashioned typewriter. But when I tried it back in the office – was the case with essentially every filter – I found the amplified sounds of co-workers talking and laughing at more pronounced, and therefore, more distracting.

 Super Hearing filter in Hear app.

While I was at my desk, Super Hearing allowed me to pick up on the faintest background, some of which I wouldn't have paid much, such as the unzipping of jackets, popping open or soda cans, beeping of car horns outside, and hushed conversations between co-workers around me.

To test the app's range out I turned up the volume and slacked my co-worker who sits three rows away from me. I bizarrely requested that he cough to himself.

The verdict: Overall, Super Hearing is a great and somewhat comforting option if you It's using it alone. I think it would be useful to use when meditating or deep breathing, since it allows you to look deeply within yourself and each breath and movement so clearly. But in a noisy environment, it made me much more conscious of each individual sound more – essentially, the opposite of what I wanted.

Auto Volume

The app's second filter, described as a way to "turn off the background noise, but still hear when people talk around you, "seemed promising. But honestly, it didn't wow me.

The Auto Volume filter starts off silent and only picks up select noise, resulting in sudden bursts of sound and occasionally choppy feedback. This particular filter didn't always pick up the sounds I wanted to, and occasionally cut out while someone was speaking to me, which got to be pretty frustrating.

 Auto Volume filter on Hear app.

The verdict : While I'm not passionately against this filter, I just didn't see the point in using it. Turning it on in a room alone will add much to your work experience, and if you can change the volume, suppress noise, and remove lift, I couldn't find a settings adjustment that convinced me otherwise. Overall, found harsh distinctions between absolute quiet and sound distracting.


Hear told me its third filter, Relax, would make me "lose myself in harmonic waves of bliss," and while I was incredibly hopeful at The thought of finally getting a taste of app-induced relaxation, I can tell you no such thing.

Have you ever seen the episode of SpongeBob SquarePants where Squidward screams "alone" in that white room over and over again? Or in Finding Nemo when Dory tries to speak whale? That's the vibe the Relax filter gave me

 Relax filter on Hear app.

It's great if you want to hear snow, coughs, and other sounds echo through your mind for far longer than they should. But I didn't find it to be very helpful when trying to relax. The filter might not be so bad if you're in the presence of waves crashing on a shore or another soothing sound you'd like repeatedly. But in an office?

The verdict: This filter was fine and the bright side is that there are ways to adjust the settings to make it more tolerable. I highly suggest turning off the echo to get rid of the creep factor


The Happy filter is by far the single most trippy experience I have ever had with a piece of technology. The app describes the filter as "turning sounds around you into cascades of happiness," but to paint a far more accurate picture, imagine the Relax filter just downed some shrooms.

The filter repeats sounds back to you in different octaves more than 20 times, to the point where you feel like you have voices in your head. It was low key traumatizing and honestly felt like I was in a living nightmare. Pharell Williams is quoted as saying that the app is "legal drugs with no side effects," and this was the first time I really understood how much he was exaggerating.

You can adjust the settings on density, spread, space, and the filter was less dramatic, but all of this in my office did allow me to hear everything my coworkers were saying on what felt like a never-ending loop.

 Happy filter on Hear app.

The verdict: Absolutely NOT. I can't imagine one single scenario, aside from prepping to star in a straight up horror movie, which anyone would willingly use to use this filter. It's a nightmare. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions while trying the Happy filter out, but let me tell you, happiness was not one of them. I was petrified, uneasy, and honestly think about rolling my cheek at one point. So, um, the hardest of passes here, folks.


The Talk filter is for anyone who's "fed up with boring voices" around them. Essentially, the app auto-tunes incoming sounds and voices so they sound more musical, which again, is fun than hell, but also super distracting.

With the ability to adjust echo, space, harmony, and volume, you can really manipulate the sounds around you in an impressively cool way, though. Seriously, the Pain would be proud of this thing.

 The Talk filter on the Hear app.

The verdict: This filter was one of my favorites, partly because it was one of the few I field Produced semi-pleasant sounds, as opposed to cursed ones. I will, however, admit that I have very little done while using it. I spent the majority of my time with Ding Punk and Imogen Heap songs, but hey, I had a great time, and it helped me recover from the traumatizing Happy filter.


The Office filter – you know, the one I'd been waiting for – had finally arrived. It was used when you can concentrate and want to "detach yourself and focus," but all I could focus on was how artificially extra it was.

The best way I could describe the filter is as a menacing spa soundtrack . It does keep out the harshness of direct voices, which might be helpful for some, but it replaces them with muffled, distant, creepier noises.

 The Office filter on the Hear app.

The verdict: I unfortunately was not a fan of the Office filter. In "unhumanizing" sounds, it sort of makes other people sound robotic, which is not something I personally felt my life was lacking. While using the filter I felt like a character in the movies that was just coming after having passed out, and that was not exceptionally pleasant.


Remember when I said nothing could be worse than the Happy filter ? I talk too soon because the sleep filter is here to literally haunt your dreams. [Idon'tknowhowtodescribeitbutsomewordsthatcometomindarehauntedclowndementorsifthathelpsatall19659005] The settings on this filter make all the difference, and while they could be adjusted to stop from having a full blown attack, they can also be turned up to make the filter more frightening.

 The Sleep filter on the Hear app.

The verdict: The sleep filter is said to "induce the most deep and surreal dreams of your life," and sadly I will never know if that's true because I can barely tolerate the sounds it produces when I'm awake. It's a bold statement, but I think this filter wins the Most Cursed award.

What's with the paid filters?

There are two in-app purchases that you can make at $ 1.99 each.

The Trippy filter is said to "distort the world around you" with a "fantastically unusual auditory experience." But after experiencing how trippy the first seven filters were, I can't imagine what this one sounds like. Hearing it "includes hallucinations without side effects," so honestly, download at your own risk.

The second paid filter, Upbeat, is said to take the sounds around you and "run into a one-off audio experience like no other. " I think the echo in some of the other apps gave me more than enough looping, so I wasn't really compiled to download this extra, either.

 Trippy filter on Hear app.

 Upbeat filter on Hear app. [19659058] To download or not to download? </strong></h2>
<p> Hear is marketed as "a listening experience like no other," and I can confidently say that is accurate. Hear is, quite frankly, like nothing I've ever heard in my life. John Krasinski movie <em> Nobody Walks </em> </p>
<div class=

Though my experience with the app wasn't always positive, I can certainly say it is the most unusual app I've ever used. But outside of the fact that it is impossibly distracting and some of the filters are terrifying, the app does have a few other cons

For starters, if you have a mic on your headphones it picks up all the sound that gets augmented. So any sounds you make yourself, such as speaking, coughing, etc., can be uncomfortably loud. Another downside is the fact that the settings bars overlap with the pause feature, so if you try to pause the filter when settings are opened you'll be unintentionally raise the volume to its max. Ouch.

It's also worth noting that the app will drain your battery if you keep it enabled throughout the day.

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But it's not all bad . I enjoyed the minimalist design – a colorful screen with a circle in the middle that changed size in response to sound waves – and it is nice that each filter can be adjusted for maximum customization.

Several of the filters (like Super Hearing and Talk) were genuinely pleasant and helpful in a solo setting, and while others were more distracting, there was no denying it was cool as hell to distort sound like that.

Would I recommend downloading the app for a fun and interesting listening experience? Absolutely. Pull the app out at parties, share some laughs with your friends, and use it to take a break from reality every once in a while.

But overall, Do not help me cut down on distractions or focus on anything other than the app.

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