Aussie tech company Nuheara have cut the cord and enhanced the personalisation of earphones with their industry-first IQbuds technology.

In an advance for the “hearables” market, users can engage voice assistance with the tap of an earbud, answer a call or skip music – with the introduction of Custom Tap Touch technology from Nuheara (ASX:NUH).

“Hearables” — a play on over-hyped “wearables” products — refers to the market for high-tech audio earbuds.

Apple’s wireless AirPods are the best known example of a new product category expected to reach $US40 billion ($51 billion) by 2020.

Nuheara, hoping for a slice of that $51 billion, today launched an upgrade of what it calls “the world’s most intelligent earbud”. Nuheara shares were up slightly to 6.5c in early Tuesday trade.

The intelligent wireless earbuds allow users to alter noise levels and amplify conversations while reducing background sounds. They are designed for general listening and can assist people with mild to moderate hearing loss.

“What we know today is that the smart device sits in the palm of our hand but there is real potential to work in the ears,” co-founder Justin Miller said.

“Providing upgradability to the earbuds is allowing us to do some smart things like streaming commentary at the football with out the crowd noise and allowing you to still talk to whoever is next to you. Innovations in hearing has been overlooked.”

Through the IQbud app, users can set up nine different customisable functions – not just skipping or pausing music but changing location settings or activating SIRI and Google Now.

Upgrades also include improvements in wind noise reduction and speech amplification.

“Most headphones or headsets that exist in today’s market are not upgradeable and can quickly become redundant – what we have done is effectively put a computer in each ear,” he said.

“Now earphones are more than just a dumb output for a smart device.”

Nuheara continues to set the global standard for innovation in wireless headsets and significantly offers software technology improvements to all our new and existing customers, as the technical advances are developed via a simple downloadable upgrade.”

The company made a $4.8 million loss last financial year and had $3.4 million in the kitty at the end of the period.

Co-founder David Cannington said the earbuds put control in the hands of the customer:

“This unique, industry-first upgrade continues our mission of empowering customers with additional levels of personalisation. We want our customers to make the decisions about how they use IQbuds, not us.”