Hearing Aid Products
Cat-Ears are the original, best selling, and most effective 'passive'
wind noise reduction products for cyclists who ride with hearing aids.
All hearing devices have very sensitive microphones with the ability to pick-up the slightest movement of air. Unfortunately, when you are out in the wind, this can cause a buffeting on the microphones... creating a very uncomfortable and frequently painful roaring sound... masking the important surrounding sounds that a person wants and needs to hear for safe road cycling.
Wind noise caused by turbulent airflow around the head
is a clear nuisance for normal hearing as well as hearing impaired people.
Wind noise is somewhat of a paradox for hearing aid users – an idiosyncrasy of the physics of a microphone. A true irony is that in the context of hearing aids, and microphones generally, wind noise is neither a sound nor a noise. It’s actually a phantom noise caused by vibration of the microphone membrane not from sound pressure fluctuations but rather air fluctuations. This can occur both when the user is moving or on a windy day. The flow of air does not need to be significant for the microphone membrane to vibrate sufficiently to create a phantom wind sound. Even a light breeze can be sufficient to produce loud and annoying wind noise.
Shortly after we introduced Cat-Ears during 2012, we started to receive inquiries from cyclists who use hearing devices. While we were well aware of the effect of the wind on microphones (as a result of our product testing), we quickly became aware of the wind noise issue for cyclists who wear hearing aids - so we started testing hearing aid prototype models. In this regard, thanks to our investigation of what causes wind noise, we have been able to develop products that reduce the specific turbulence affecting different types of hearing aids. BTE hearing aids tend to be more adversely affected by turbulent wind flow above the pinna. Our wind turbulence mapping and measurement capabilities are unsurpassed... leading to our highly effective 'passive' WNR solutions.
Our approach is simple: We focus on reducing the sources of wind noise.
We soon discovered that our standard products worked pretty well for 'in the canal' hearing devices. For 'behind the ear' (microphone) devices, we developed a new product... Airstreamz™ XL which is actually a larger version of our Airstreamz™. Regardless of the type of hearing aid, we typically recommend our Airstreamz™ XL for all hearing aid customers (as a starting point). We can also customize our products depending on any unique situations.
See our Cycling Products Page for ordering information.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please give us a call.
Any of our products will work well with these types of hearing aids.
Classic, Airstreamz™ or Airstreamz™ XL will work well with this type of hearing aid.
Contact us if you have any questions.
Airstreamz™ XL will work best with these types of hearing aids.
We also make custom BTE covers (not shown here). Our custom covers are based on the same 'passive' wind noise reduction 'engineered materials' approach that we use for our other products... and customers have reported wind noise reductions in excess of 50%. Given the size and shape variations between hearing aids, these are made on an individual 'custom order' basis. Volume discount opportunities are available. Please contact us for details. [a]
Our products are exhaustively tested in our Wind Tunnels and Hydrodynamic Flume to ensure that they minimize the turbulent wind flow that adversely affects hearing aids.
We pride ourselves on understanding virtually all aspects of wind noise, and how to reduce it most effectively. We stand by our products as the most effective of their kind on the market. Please visit our Why Cat-Ears pages to learn more.
Safer Cycling Through Sound Engineering™
In many simple listening circumstances, a normal-hearing person’s percept of the position of a sound source is reasonably veridical: the perceived direction corresponds closely to the actual direction, and the perceived distance is at least passably accurate. For hearing-impaired listeners, however, performance in spatial-hearing tasks is usually worse, and often hearing aids exacerbate the decrements in performance. There are situations in which even normal-hearing percepts become noticeably inaccurate due to an adverse signal-to-noise ratio and in many of these domains, there is evidence that hearing-impaired listeners perform even less well in high noise situations.
Resolving the wind noise issue for hearing aid users can be a unique situation - for each user, so we prefer to work with each customer individually - so we can find the best solution possible. We invite hearing device users to call us prior to placing an order (1.303.530.1474). This way we can determine the best product solution... and make sure the results are satisfactory. We invite you to read some of the many comments we have received from customers.
"Our Favorite Cycling Wind Gear" - Bicycling Magazine
"With Cat-Ears, I found I was enjoying rides more... Simply because
I could hear more of what I wanted and less of what I didn't."
Joe Lindsey, Bicycling Magazine (hearing aid user)
"Very pleased with these using CIC aids - much clearer hearing and much less wind noise compared with my previous
compromise of modified Slipstreamz. Impressed with the research you have carried out."
(NW - United Kingdom)
"As a hearing aid wearer, these are terrific. Can talk with riding buddies downhill into the wind and HEAR THEM!!!!"
(DB - Wisconsin)
"I have used the Airstreamz on 6 rides and find that they are as effective as the Classic II Cat-Ears that I had been using.
I can hear oncoming traffic and conversations easily, but the wind noise is substantially reduced. I use behind the ear hearing aids,
(Resound Linx). I have already told the two guys I ride with who have hearing aids and Classic II Cat-Ears how well they work.
(And they don't look quite as funky as the Classic IIs do. :-)"
(TM - Texas)
"I've been using them for years, but I just got my first hearing aids so bought the new cat ears 'HA' (hearing aid) model. They are longer, so they go much higher up and block wind going over the top of the ear better if your hearing aids have microphones riding on top of the ear (as most do these days). The HA models work better with my hearing aids, though the originals weren't bad either."
(D - Recumbent Forum)
"I wear hearing aids and have found their amplification of wind noise while riding super frustrating over the years. A friend gave me some Cat Ears a year ago. At first I didn't think they reduced the wind noise much. But then I noticed I was not getting frustrated like I used to. I'm now a believer in Cat Ears."
(KM - Ohio)
"I have Meniere's Disease and the wind noise would sometimes trigger a vertigo attack. This has made SUCH a difference. Even before I had Meniere's I would have worn these because the wind noise can be so unsettling at times and cause anxiety. I loved it when we would stop to rest because it would give my ears a rest too. Now, I'm much calmer the entire ride and no vertigo."
(JN - Amazon)
"Thanks very much for allowing me to test your recently introduced AirStreamz product.
I have now ridden about 150 miles using this product, with speeds up to around 45 mph in headwinds, tailwinds and crosswinds.
In sum, I have found that this model work extremely well in conjunction with my Phonak behind-the-ear hearing aids. In fact, they seem to work better than the earlier cat-ears products I have used and enjoyed (Classic, Classic II). The signal-to-windnoise ratio is the best so far, IMHO. In addition, I find that the efficacy of wind noise reduction is sustained through a greater range of head rotation, crosswinds, etc.
than the earlier models. The effectiveness of these devices does not seem to diminish markedly with increasing cycling velocities.
(SM - Professor Emeritus of Economics, Vassar College)
"We had some nice weather today with a slight wind of 5-15, I wore both the test Cat Ears for hearing aids and my new StreamZ. I wear behind the ear hearing aids. The verdict is that I am so glad I got the StreamZ because it worked perfectly. No wind noise at all. The beta test model was as good as the Classic model that I had replaced. Thanks for including me in the test."
(BA - Oregon)
"I have high frequency loss and not feeling comfortable wearing the hearing aids while riding, I miss a lot of things I can't hear.
After adding AirStreamz to my helmet straps I can hear a lot better at speed."
(DF - Florida)
"Just wanted to drop you a quick note that I tried my cat ears yesterday for the first time with my hearing aids, and they work just great! The wind noise seems no greater than what I remember from the days of not having hearing aids. Even turning my head side to side, which normally results in unbearable howling noise, is not a problem with these.
Thanks, and keep up the good work!"
(ES - California)
"These are terrific and really help minimize wind static with my hearing aids so that I can actually hear traffic around me AND carry on a conversation with fellow riders."
(RT - Washington)
"I wear behind the ear hearing aids too and had to leave them at home before I got my Cat Ears. Now I can wear them and hear very well when riding without too much wind noise."
"I've used the old ones, I suffer from Meniere's disease and they really cut the noise down when I'm on the bike.
Wind noise is painful to me and these really help."
(RB - United Kingdom)
"I love my Cat-Ears. They have allowed me to wear my hearing aids, which means increased safety,
and the fun of carrying on conversations with whomever I'm riding with."
(AH - Oregon)
"I tried my Cat-Ears today and they work great! I have always had to turn off my hearing aids to ride because of the wind noise
(I have always felt unsafe while riding without being able to hear), today I left them on and
the Cat Ears cut down the wind so much I can now ride with my hearing aids on! GREAT PRODUCT!!"
(RA - Utah)
"I wear behind the ear hearing aids & had to take them off or turn them off. Just bought a set of Cat-Ears and they work as advertised!
It's money well spent!"
(KD - Netherlands)
"A big +1. They look a little dorky, but as a hearing aid wearer, I find them extremely helpful. The big gusty winds still upset my hearing aids, but the Cat-Ears make the normal stuff a non issue."
(Bob - BentRider Forum)
"Got mine this week... I wear hearing aids... This simple idea works wonders for those who have to wear hearing aids when we ride...
And yes, they do cut out the wind noise a whole lot... Thanks!"
(DN - Hawaii)
"I use them. AWESOME for hearing aid users"
(BL - Texas)
"I have a major hearing loss impairment and the Cat-Ears reduce wind noise to the point of reasonable hearing for cycling.
Without them, I cannot hear approaching traffic. They really do work!"
(RS - Missouri)
"As someone who wears hearing aids but can't during bike rides, this product makes it so I can!
It's so nice to be able to hear my friends when we're riding!"
(JS - Amazon)
Day 1: Strong head and cross winds. I heard some wind noise, but I could also hear my daughter BEHIND ME!!!
AND I could hear bikes say 'on you left' or 'bike on'. I could still hear everyone around me!
Day 2: Again, some wind (at one point I almost got blown over). I could still hear everyone around me!
Day 3: I just felt icky, but I could hear.
Day 4: Very little wind. I was able to get my bike way past the speed where
the noise has driven me crazy before. NO wind noise!!!!"
(KEC - Iowa / RAGRAI)
"Mine came the other day. I have hearing aids and man, did they help. I either had to turn them off or all the way down before.
Now that the VAST majority of wind noise is gone I can actually hear cars coming up behind me as well as hear those I ride with.
Well worth the money. I'm in San Diego so the cold isn't really a factor but I did notice that it helped this morning when I rode early.
Thanks guys and girls!"
(RS - California)
"Wow! I used my new Cat Ears Saturday on a 50k Tour de Cure ride and was convinced within 5 minutes they are terrific!
First time I've been able to converse with my riding pals in a long time. Could hear what they were saying when 15 feet ahead of me.
I'm a fan. Now I need to order the right color - forgot I have blue straps when I ordered the black ears.
My wife even said she can put up with the dorky look!"
(DB - Wisconsin) - Hearing Aid User
"Just got my order in for another pair. They help considerably - even with my hearing aids. Thanks."
(JD - Pennsylvania)
"My Cat-Ears came yesterday and I mounted them on my helmet today.
I just came back from a ride on my bike in the famous Utah south wind and I'd like to let everyone know that for a hearing aid wearer,
Cat-Ears are excellent on my helmet. I can actually hear cars instead of the wind and be safe with my Cat-Ears.
Thank you so much for the design and for the idea. Even thought I've ridden bikes for years, I never give up riding.
If you could please mail a few flyers to my home address... I would be happy to put them up in the local bike shops."
(MA - Utah)
"I would just like to say that the Cats-Ears I ordered last weekend have arrived and they are great
I wear hearing aids and they cut down most if the wind noise and they arrived here in GB faster than stuff I buy in this country
Thanks - I might look a bit 1970 but I can hear the cars coming up behind me again."
(GE - United Kingdom)
"I have been using Cat-Ears Classics II for about two years and have been very pleased.
As you said they are not perfect, but they are the best thing I have tried. As a hearing aid user they are a god send.
I met an audiologist on a recent charity ride who recognized my Cat-Ears and asked me about their usefulness.
I answered that I have tried everything else, but these actually worked."
(TS - Canada)
"I wanted to let you know I love my Cat Ears. I normally wear hearing aids but can’t on my rides. They simply amplify the wind noise, and I don’t want to get sweat in them. Therefore, I ride without them which means my hearing is *significantly* diminished beyond your typical rider. I rode a century the day after I received my Cat Ears. I could actually hear my surroundings and talk with fellow bikers! I highly recommend these to anyone with hearing issues. Thank you!"
(BH - Ohio)
"These AirStreamz really work. Wearing them removes the sharp/loud wind noise as the wind is no longer passing directly over your ears. You still hear wind, but it will be reduced similar to standing in front of a fan on its low setting, as opposed to sticking your head out of a moving car's window. I have bad hearing, so before trying these I was only ever able to hear the birds chirping (or cars coming) when I was at a full stop on my bike. Now I hear both at my normal riding speed, making a big difference in my early morning rides."
(MR - Amazon US)
"I love my Cat-Ears, they look kinda crazy, but I can hear SO much better.
Not just for those of us with hearing loss (and hearing aid users), but everyone.
Thanks Brad for your recommendation!!"
(AC - Texas)
"I don't ride without them, it cuts the noise that transmits through my hearing aids."
(BA - California)
"Hi, just thought I would contact you to say what a fantastic product the Cat Ears are.
I bought a set earler in the year and being rather skeptical I didn't think they would work. How wrong was I!
Being a hearing aid user I had two options, either take them out and not hear approaching traffic or leave them in and put up with the sound of gale force wind in my ears. With the Cat Ears I cam leave the aids in and still hear everything around me, its now a complete pleasure to ride.
I readily recommend these to other hearing aid users."
(TG - United Kingdom)
Please contact us for additional customer and audiologist related feedback.
Based on exhaustive road, trail, wind tunnel, water tunnel,
and independent cycling industry testing, we stand behind our
products as the most effective devices of their kind on the market.
[a] We welcome inquiries from hearing aid professionals who are interested in learning more about our innovative products.