Nuheara’s earbuds/hearing aids are open for general pre-order

Nuheara’s IQbuds are strange little things. It took a rep a few tries to properly explain the things when they first crossed my radar. And honestly, it wasn’t until I took the things for a spin on the crowded Manhattan streets that I really grasped what they were all about.

The simplest way to explain them is as a sort of combination wireless earbuds and hearing aids. They do all of the standard earbud things — music, calls and the like — but also feature a voice amplification mode that makes it easier to hear people in a crowded environment.

I tried an early model and was impressed by how much easier it was to carry on a conversation on the sidewalks of New York — though there were still some kinks to work out at the time, like the fact that the device has the habit of amplifying the already unpleasant sound of bus brakes.

Today marks the next phase of the product’s journey to retail, as pre-orders shift from the Indiegogo campaign to general availability. Those initial orders are now set to arrive for backers in late December — just in time for Christmas, or at least soon thereafter. That initial shipment includes 4,000 units being sent out to backers in 82 countries.

Those who pick up the earbuds in this second round, meanwhile, should be getting them next spring.