Choju, a Sound Collector that Exceeds Hearing Aid Performance
Ace E & L Co., Ltd. (Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture) develops, manufactures and sells a sound collector "Choju" for people who are hard of hearing. When it comes to hearing improvement, doesn't the hearing aid immediately come up with your mind?
What is a sound collector, and why was it developed instead of a hearing aid? I interviewed to Hiromitsu Tsuda, President of the company. * I also reviewed Choju!
We wanted to develop a device that improves hearing, at a price that anyone can buy.
One sight led me to decide to develop a sound collector.
Stop talking to me!
When I visited my cousin in Iwate which is a rural area in Japan for the first time in a while, I was surprised to see him. His deafening made it difficult for him to talk to his family, and he spent his days watching TV alone!
The life after the retirement of the fisherman was very lonely for the cousin. Moreover, even though he said that he was watching TV the whole day, the fact was he just saw the screen of the TV because of his poor hearing. To make matters worse, the cute grandson said, "Stop talking to me (I need much effort to talk with you)", and he was wondering if he could buy a hearing aid.
However, he knew that hearing aids were expensive and also he needed to go to a hospital to adjust the volume regularly. "Since this was the countryside, I had to drive to the hospital on a rough mountain road near the Sanriku coast. I felt it seems very difficult for me as well.
Looking at the cousin's situation, I thought, "If he could adjust the volume and sound quality by himself..." "If it would be a price that can be easily purchased by people living in pensions..."
I want to make a sound collector that customers can adjust the volume and sound quality themselves and buy it at a reasonable price.
I thought that many people would feel inconvenience like my cousin, and decided on the following three things as the product concepts.
- We provide it at a reasonable price that everyone can buy.
- The user can adjust the volume and sound quality according to his / her
- It should not only be able to hear the sound, but also be able to distinguish others' voices
Ace Engineering, the parent company of us, works on PCB design and circuit design, so I asked for the cooperation of engineers who excel in circuit design. We developed the prototype and visited some nursing homes where we ask the residents to try to use the device to get feedback. It took us three years to improve the product. But finally, we were confident that the sound collector realized the concept of reasonable price, the adjustable volume and quality of the sound, and the voice discrimination.
- While stick to Made in JAPAN, we develop, manufacture and sell ourselves so that we can offer them at lower prices than hearing aids.
- Equipped with an interface that can easily adjust "volume" and "bass / treble sound quality" by themselves.
- By using the analog circuit, not only the voice band (300-700Hz) but also the wideband frequency (20-10000Hz) is picked up, corrected and amplified to the form close to the original sound to realize natural hearing.
And now, Choju has become a product that solves problems for many people who suffer from hearing problems, and it is spreading not only in Japan but also in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Estonia.
Difference between a sound collector "Choju" and a hearing aid.
One of the reasons why Choju is chosen by people who suffer from hearing problems is that it sounds clear.
The difference between a sound collector "Choju" and a hearing aid is whether you can adjust the volume and sound quality.
Hearing aids are medical devices, so there are not many devices that users can adjust the volume and sound quality on their own. They need to go to a medical institution or a store with qualified personnel to adjust them. The problem here is that the sound is good at hospitals and shops, but worse when you go home. This is because how you hear is different in the house where you live and in the hospital where you adjust it. Choju is not a medical device, so you can adjust these functions in your own living environment.
Difference between Choju and other sound collectors
Unlike other sound collectors, Choju can adjust the left and right volume and sound quality. In general, sound collectors can adjust the volume that they hear, but cannot adjust the left and right volume balance. Depending on the person, there may be cases where the hearing is extremely poor for either the left or right. Choju allows users to adjust the left and right volume balance so that they can use it in optimal conditions according to each of hearing conditions.
Regarding sound quality, some people may find it difficult to hear high sounds or low sounds. Choju can also adjust the sound quality of the bass and treble.
In this way, users can improve their hearing by adjusting the volume and sound quality to their own condition.。
A solution for people suffering from hearing around the world
We may think, "Hearing aids are used by the elderly," but in fact, Choju is used by people who have difficulty hearing, regardless of age.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 460 million people suffer from hearing loss in the world as of 2018. It is said that there could be 900 million people in 2050.
Choju is currently available in Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Estonia and some parts of Europe, but in the future, we would like to actively expand into the United States and all over Europe.
Sound Collector Choju Review
I will give you a review on how to use it and how I feel when using it. This time, I used the model number Choju2 which features that users can hear TV sounds clearly than Choju. Other than that, they have the same functions.
I don't have any problems with hearing, but I'll try to see how Choju works in terms of the range and volume of sounds when hearing.
How to set Choju?
This is a box made of paulownia wood containing a set of sound collectors Choju.
First, please take out the main unit and earphones and connect them to each.
Then, you should insert the plugs at the tip of the earphones into the socket of 1 and 2 of the main body, and attach the earphone 1 to your right ear and the earphone 2 to the left ear.
It comes with two types of earpieces, big and small, so use the one that fits your ears. The black fluffy is the microphone. This is a windscreen that cuts off extraneous sounds such as wind.
You can turn the dial on the top right of the main unit clockwise to turn on the power and adjust the volume in 5 levels.
Open the cover of the main unit and adjust the volume and sound quality. It requires only a little of your hand power.
You can adjust the microphone sensitivity with large, medium and small.
This is the part for adjustment for left and right volume balance adjustment and sound quality adjustment. The tip is shaped like a flathead screwdriver and you can adjust them by inserting and turning it into the adjustment dial.
The dial labeled 左右調整(left / right adjustment) allows you to adjust the left / right volume balance. Turn to 1 to increase the volume of the right ear and 2 to increase the volume of the left ear. If you want to set it in the middle, try turning the dial and set it in the middle where you can hear the click sound.
You can adjust the bass(低音) and treble(高音) for each of the left and right earphones with the dial indicated as 音質調整(Sound quality adjustment). Sound quality adjustment is not a stepwise adjustment of five steps. 3 is neutral, turning 2 and 1 will reduce the band, and turning 4 and 5 will amplify it, so you can fine-tune the sound quality.
Let me use it!
The settings are as follows:
Upper right volume dial: 2-3
左右調整(Left / right adjustment): center
音質調整(Sound quality adjustment): All 3
The microphone was placed in the middle of the chest.
- When I used it in a room...
All sounds I heard were loud and clear. For example, when I used the keyboard of my PC, I could hear not only the sound of pressing the key but also the fine sound of releasing the key. When I concentrated more on the sounds, I was able to hear the bass of the vibration of the keyboard caused by pressing the keys.
- When I used it outside ...
While I was preparing to get out, I heard everything fresh and clearly: the sounds of wearing shoes, the squeezing of keys, and the sound of stepping out of the door. It was impressive that I could hear the crisp sound of the leaves crumbling as I stepped on the fallen leaves.
I went to a nearby shopping center. Even though it is indoors like the house, the shopping center has wide space, so what would it like to hear various kinds of sounds there? Due to the size of the spacious space, environmental sounds were overly reverberant to me. In such a case, it was convenient to be able to adjust the sound collector by me.
I could hear people speaking more clearly. What I was surprised when I passed the shop where the movie was playing on the monitor was the reality of the sound. It was as if persons were really standing over there and talking.
Does a loud sound resonate louder?
While using it, I came up with one question about the function and it was "Does a loud sound resonate louder?" I mean when someone calls me out loud, will the sound be amplified further? So, I made a loud voice to my microphone to figure it out.
What I heard was "Controlled-volume". When I shouted into the microphone, the sound was slightly distorted, but the overall sound was controlled up to a certain extent. In this case, it is no problem even if loud sounds occur suddenly. The sounds you hear are suppressed, so you're unlikely to hear loud sounds from your earphones.
- How to set Choju is simple, just by turning the dial.
- When I wear it, I can hear sounds that I couldn't hear before.
- Even if there is a loud noise in the surroundings, it will not be louder than a certain level.
I have no problem hearing my ears, but I was surprised that the sound that I always heard was clearer when I attached the sound collector. As your hearing ability declines with age, communication with your family becomes more difficult and you may become lonely. Choju will help you at such times. I really want to support becoming a sound collector known to more people.
|Company name||Ace E & L Co., Ltd.|
|Location||6-9-9 Asamidai, Minami-ku, Sagamihara-shi, Kanagawa 252-0328, Japan|
|Contact||TEL +81-42-740-8111 / Contact now|
|Business description||Planning, design, manufacturing and sales of Choju series|
|Speaker||Representative Director, Hiromichi Tsuda|
Author of this article：Tadayuki Emoto
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