Yuni: A Headphone for People With Single-Sided Hearing Loss

This is a brilliant idea if it actually works.

Our team is proud to present the Yuni — the first headphone offering true stereo sound for individuals with unilateral deafness or hearing impairment!

Since most headphone manufacturers ignore the needs of unilaterally deaf listeners, the options have been limited. Either miss half the music, or find a way to collapse the two stereo channels into a single channel and listen with one ear. But the interference between the two channels coming from the same speaker will boost some frequencies and cut others, resulting in a messy, cramped sound.

The Yuni gets around this problem with a revolutionary new stereo technology (patent pending) that places both stereo channels in a single earpiece, but with two separate speakers instead of just one — one above, and one below the ear opening. This design takes advantage of our ear’s natural shape, which functions to help us localize where sound is coming from. With the Yuni, you can hear and distinguish the two channels, identifying which sound is coming from which speakers. Even better, the music will sound truly spacious, not squished, and you can finally hear true stereo panning as the sound moves from one channel to the other!  If you’re a unilaterally deaf music-lover who has never experienced these effects through headphones before, it may be difficult to appreciate how much your music will open up and come alive when it’s played the way it was meant to be enjoyed…in stereo.

I have been ~75% deaf in my right ear ever since I suffered nerve damage from a viral infection 15 years ago (who knew you could go deaf from sinusitis‽). I can still hear music decently well if I use headphones, so I’m not sure if I need a Yuni. It would be great to try a pair and see if the quality of the listening experience improves significantly.

Check out: Yuni: A Headphone for People With Single-Sided Hearing Loss by Daniel Glass — Kickstarter

About Kevin

Kevin Jarnot is a technologist who lives just South of Boston, MA. He is currently employed as Chief Technology Officer at DebtX, a financial services technology company based in Boston.
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6 Responses to Yuni: A Headphone for People With Single-Sided Hearing Loss

  1. Michael Juliano says:

    On an ipod/iphone/ipad you can go into the settings and change a setting so it only plays out one side of the headphone or it plays more out the right side and less out the left or vice versa

  2. What setting is it? I can’t find such a thing in my iPhone.

  3. Update: I found it under Accessibility. It does what you describe, but that’s the same as just taking off one side of your regular headphones. The Yuni puts all the sound into one side, not just what the recording artist wanted on that side.

  4. Dorkmaster Flek says:

    There are two problems with using the existing sound panning options on your iPod/music player.

    1. It can just cut out one channel mostly or entirely. This just means you’re only listening to the one channel in your good ear. You’re still missing half the sound.

    2. You can use the “mono” setting. However, this just merges both channels together and pumps it out a single speaker. This would be great, if it actually worked. The problem is that the two separate waveforms interfere with each other, so some sounds cancel each other out and some sounds mix together. If you’ve ever studied wave interference in basic physics, you know what I’m talking about. As a result, the music sounds muffled, like it’s being forced through a small pipe or something.

    I’m mostly deaf in one ear due to a genetic condition (thanks Dad) and believe me, I have messed around with countless settings on my music player for mixing the channels together, boosting one side, faking crossfeed to simulate the experience of sitting in front of a pair of stereo speakers (same basic problem as mixing both channels to mono). I have never gotten it to sound really good. If these headphones work the way they’re advertised, it will be a revelation.

  5. Glenn G says:

    This system is a good idea. I can not hear out of my right ear, in 1991 my father died leaving me his company. the name was Sound Systems Service based in belmar N,J, I thought of this exact system many years ago, however, i came to realize that i could not call the head-phones a TRUE stereo sound out of one side because the left side of the brain hears the right speaker, and vis-versa. To break it down, a person still needs both ears to operate in order to hear TRUE stereo! Therefor you can-not sell this as TRUE stereo head-phones for the hearing impaired….

    • Dan P says:

      I have total hearing loss in my right ear. However, if my dog is yapping at my feet and an airplane flies above, I can tell the sounds are coming from different directions. I’m not going to bicker about wording, but having the left sound coming from the top, and the right from the bottom sounds like a huge improvement over the alternatives of either mixing the channels (along with the related problems), or just losing one of the channels. BTW, a definition I found online for stereo is “sound that is directed through two or more speakers so that it seems to surround the listener and to come from more than one source; stereophonic sound.” The definition doesn’t mention whether one or both ears are involved, nor does it mention the left or right sides of the brain.

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