Hearables: The Next Fitness Technology of 2015

If you're anything like me, and you like to exercise solo, you probably won't hit the gym without your headphones. If you're also obsessed with fitness trackers like Fitbit or Jawbone, you might have one less thing to tote around in 2015 with the advent of a new tech gadget called "the hearable."

More and more people in the U.S. are already hoping to make a fitness tracker part of their New Year's resolutions—it just might not be one that us fitness junkies already use. "Research suggests that 55 percent of Americans plan to use a wearable device in the coming year," says Scott Snyder, senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Mack Institute for Innovation Management. "Most of the attention to-date has been on the wrist, with a barrage of new devices from wrist-worn trackers to sensorized smartwatches, but hearables are makings strides and leveraging a mainstream consumer accessory—the earbud."

More: Fitness Technology: 5 Top Wearables for 2015

Thus, these convenien,t new headphone-like trackers will offer longer battery life and better readings than your standard wrist fitness tracker—and they're slowly making their way onto the mainstream market. LG launched the first hearable, called the Heart Rate earphone, earlier this year, measuring your heart rated, speed, steps and calories burned while also sending through verbal feedback on your exercise session.

The Dash (which is sorta like a Bluetooth-MP3-tracker hybrid) also raised upwards of $3 million in funding on Kickstarter, hinting people really want to ushering in the Age of the Hearable.

Here's an up close look at the Dash and how it works:

Mountain View

And on top of that, taking vital readings from your earbud might also be smarter than taking readings from your wrist. "The ear happens to be a good place to pick up blood flow as it moves consistently in and out of the ear, and the membrane is relatively thin," Snyder explains. "We can pick up heart rate, blood flow and even oxygen levels at an accuracy rate comparable to the chest strap."

Now, there's one major drawback to the hearable as a replacement to the wearable: you may not be able to pick up your stats as often. Obviously, whereas you can wear a wrist tracker on a date, in the bathroom or in the boardroom, you can't exactly take your hearable everywhere. (I'm not sure your boss or date would approve.) Otherwise, though, since I don't go anywhere without my headphones, I'm totally on board in making this simple swap. You?

Image Credit: Guido Mieth/Taxi; Courtesy of The Dash

More: 30-Minute Treadmill Workout With Music Mix

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About the Author

Jenna Birch

SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.

SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.

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