The unique ams Adaptive Leakage Compensation technology implemented in the AS3460 – the digital audio processor at the heart of the reference design – dynamically adjusts the frequency coverage and depth of noise attenuation to cancel out noise which enters the ear directly, bypassing the earbud’s silicone tip. This means that users who find loose-fit earbuds more comfortable to wear for long periods can enjoy the same noise cancellation performance as that of closed-fit earbuds, which plug the ear tightly to provide a physical barrier to ambient noise.
The multi-sensor innovation kit based on the ams AS3460 chip also supports new optical sensor features such as automatic in-ear detection. At CES 2020, ams also combined effective demonstrations on the role of wireless earbuds in personal health monitoring, sleep enhancement, selective sound awareness, and treatment of symptoms of hearing disorders such as tinnitus.
“Studies of consumer attitudes confirm that true wireless earbud users strongly prefer the loose-fit type because it is more comfortable to wear. The closed-fit earbud is a compromised design, sacrificing the user’s comfort in order to gain some passive noise attenuation and compensate for the weakness of conventional noise cancellation systems in loose-fit earbuds. With the AS3460’s Adaptive Leakage Compensation technology, ams has solved the leakage problem and is uniquely able to provide a closed-fit standard of noise-cancellation performance in the comfortable loose-fit form factor,” says Chris Feige, Executive Vice President for Ear Solutions at ams.
The convenience of completely wire-free listening has led consumers to adopt true wireless earbuds in increasing numbers. Analyst forecasts predict annual growth of 39% for this category in the years to 2023. Shipments of wireless earbud units are expected to be higher than the numbers of all other types of earphones and headphones put together by 2022.
The Austrian sensor specialist company, a pioneer in the growing wireless, noise cancellation market, introduced the AS3460 Digital Augmented Hearing companion chip in 2019 to bring high-performance noise cancellation for the first time to loose-fit wireless earbuds.
The AS3460 is the first audio chip to provide up to 40dB of noise attenuation in the loose-fit type of wireless earbuds over a broad range of audible frequencies, providing a quiet acoustic background in almost any environment. This means the user can take calls and listen to music at lower volume, which helps protect their long-term hearing health.
In the Earbud Innovation Demo Kit, ams also provides the AS3460’s Automatic Preset Selection technology, which detects different acoustic environments such as the interior of a car, an air plane cabin, or a crowded room, and automatically applies an optimized noise filter without the user having to do anything – and without compromising safety or comfort as the user moves from one place to another.
The Digital Augmented Hearing Engine also supports special audio functions such as tinnitus treatment, cancelling out the frequencies associated with the patient’s symptoms. For speech enhancement, the platform is able to improve the user’s ability to listen to conversation when normal hearing is compromised, while selective noise cancellation, automatically passes through essential external noises such as an ambulance approaching, when a user is crossing the road.
In the Earbud Innovation Demo Kit, the AS3460 is paired with TMD2635 nano-proximity optical sensor modules, which provide automatic in-ear detection. This enables power saving when the earbuds are not in use. Nano-proximity sensors can also be used to enable gesture control of the earbud’s operation, for instance using a swipe gesture to raise or lower the volume. In the future, optical sensors embedded in an earbud will also be able to monitor vital physical signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and vagal tone.
The Earbud Innovation Demo Kit is supplied in a small, earbud-sized form factor, and is available to buy at the ams webshop. The AS3460 Digital Augmented Hearing companion chip is available today in production volumes. For sample requests or more information, go to