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And the beat goes on

by Daniel Gniazdo | April 6, 2017

Your ear – the ideal place to monitor your heart rate

When you think about measuring your heart rate, the ear is probably not the first body part you think of. Many wearable fitness trackers use the wrist and rely on LEDs to measure the flow of blood through capillaries. It works, but there are many moving parts to the wrist – exercise that bends your wrist creates movement of muscles and tendons, and that interferes with the ability to accurately read blood flow. Ears, however, are a much better option. They’re relatively inert, even if the rest of you is moving. As they say in real estate, it’s all about “location, location, location.”

With Jabra Elite Sport, just one part of what makes them so technically advanced is the in-ear heart rate monitor. Our engineers designed and optimised biometric sensor technology for accuracy that can be used for true fitness tracking. Coupled with Jabra Sport Life, our integrated fitness app, the precision heart rate monitor allows you to track, and then analyze, your fitness – helping you reach your training goals and, we hope, beat your personal best.

Ears are mostly cartilage and, featuring a channel, are dark. According to Valencell, a company that supplies sensing technology, reading a signal in the ear is approximately “100 times clearer” than reading a signal from the wrist.

The ear has a unique vascular structure, there’s high blood flow and fairly thin skin, and this allows for accurate and continuous measuring of vital signs during virtually any activity, and in almost all weather conditions. The ear also includes the tympanic membrane, which together with other factors also allows for the monitoring of respiration rate, temperature, pulse pressure, and blood oxygen.

By using the in-ear heart rate monitor, we can continuously detect VO2max (a measurement of health and fitness) from heart rate response and external workload (using GPS to gauge speed/movement). This is also very accurate: 95% when compared to traditional VO2max laboratory testing.

Today, hundreds of millions of people are already wearing headsets to listen to music as they train – with Elite Sport you can do this and accurately monitor your heart rate at the same time. It’s precise, in-ear technology that serves.


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