When I was first approached about reviewing a bone conduction headset from Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd, it was described to me as a “brain workout” and as “a sensory workout for the nervous system.” Honestly, I had no idea what that meant, but I was intrigued enough to go and check out their 20-minute introductory video describing the product. Before I’d even finished the video, I was desperate to get my hands on this wondrous product as it sounded absolutely amazing and I could already list out several ways I wanted to use it in our homeschool!
I described it to my husband in glowing detail – that it trains the brain to be more attentive, helps people to improve speech fluency, pronunciation, sound discrimination and rhythm, and helps people to improve short term memory, among other things.
We were elated to be chosen for the review. When it arrived, we all took turns trying it on and made our plans for how we would use it to help improve our speech, memory, and focus throughout our school day.
What Comes in the Forbrain Package?
When we opened the box, we found a black protective case with a zipper closure. I was so happy to see that it had spaces for all the pieces of the Forbrain! I wouldn’t have to keep track of any pieces or chargers or even paperwork because it all had a spot in the case! Inside the case was:
- the Forbrain bone conduction headset – this includes a microphone, a dynamic filter and the bone conductors
- 3 spare foam microphone covers in a little zipper baggie
- a USB charging cable
- a pamphlet with directions for using and charging the Forbrain
There is no computer equipment or software needed to use the Forbrain. You simply charge it, put it on, and start talking, reading, or singing.
How I Plan(ned) to Use the Forbrain
Like I said, I had a long list of how I thought this product would be useful to our family.
- Our 9-year old struggles sometimes with focus and concentration so I was keen to see if it would help her.
- Our 3-year old struggles with some sounds in his speaking. I want to see if the Forbrain will help him hear the sounds he’s not articulating clearly yet.
- As linguists, my husband and I are always learning one language or another. And our three daughters also love to dabble in languages. Right now, the 11-year old is working on Castilian Spanish, the 9-year old is working on Hebrew, and we’re all always working on our Malay and Mandarin. I wondered if it would help us with pronunciation and/or remembering vocabulary.
- We are also a very musical family so I wondered how it might help with hearing ourselves singing – perhaps improving pitch and even harmonies?
- Finally, we do a lot of Bible memory work, large chunks at a time. We’ve never struggled to remember our passages, but I thought wearing this might improve or make things stick even longer.
How We’ve Used the Forbrain So Far
I knew this review would need to be written after having the Forbrain for about six weeks so we’ve only tackled a few of the above list so far. We are all very impressed and do plan on trying all of the above in time.
All of the kids wanted to wear the headset so we took turns, giving each person 15-20 minute time frames. I sat with the 3-year old with some of his favorite books. I would read a line and have him say it back to me while wearing the headset. We did this consistently for the first week we had the device, and we all heard some noticeable improvements in the way he pronounced beginning blends like “tr” and “bl.” After the first week, he stopped wanting to wear it so I haven’t pushed, but I expect we will keep working with it as he is interested. It is five weeks later now, and he is still saying those blends more clearly so I am excited to work more consistently with him and this device when we start preschool in the fall.
We have been working on memorizing Matthew 5:1-16 together throughout this six weeks. The girls take turns reading the passage aloud with the device on and singing along with the song we are using to memorize the passage. This had the added benefit of having them hear the passage extra times as they almost always stood next to each other listening until it was their turn to wear the Forbrain and do it! I’ve allotted two more weeks for us to memorize this passage by focusing on two verses per week, but they all know the whole thing already.
I assigned each girl to make sure they kept it on and read, spoke or sang aloud for at least 15 minutes each day. This allowed them to use it for different tasks but still to reap the benefits of improved concentration and neural processing. The little guys enjoyed being the beneficiaries of the extra out-loud reading times.
After the first few weeks, both of the older girls found they appreciated the Forbrain the most during their online foreign language lessons. The program we use says words or phrases to them which they then repeat, and then it gives them the English and asks them to say it in the target language. The 11-year old reported that using the Forbrain helped her to remember words she had been forgetting before. She said that before using it, it was taking her 5 or 6 lessons of reviewing the same words and phrases for them to really stick, but with the Forbrain, she remembered things after only 2 or 3 lessons. We ran into an acquaintance from Spain at the market just this past weekend, and Bignificent bravely tried a few of her Spanish phrases on the lady. The lady (who is a teacher) remarked that Bignificent’s pronunciation is excellent and she understood everything she said. I’m not sure how much of that we can attribute to the Forbrain, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt!
Did the Forbrain Work for Us?
As a lot of the things I was hoping to improve with the Forbrain are hard to quantifiably assess improvement, it is hard to say with certainty that this product worked. However, I believe it did. Even though the 3-year old didn’t use it consistently throughout these six weeks, we definitely heard some improvement in his speech (the most quantifiable thing we were hoping to improve.)
As for the 9-year old’s focus and concentration, I definitely feel that she has improved. I am not having to speak to her during the school day to get back to work nearly as often, nor is she making silly errors from not paying attention to the instructions as frequently as before. We also noticed this weekend, sort of by accident, that her reading speed has at least doubled during this six week period! Again, I don’t know how much of that can be attributed to the Forbrain, but it seems like more than a coincidence.
I already related the 11-year old’s positive results with her foreign language studies. I was hoping to wear the device to improve my own concentration and memory, but so far, every time I have tried to wear it, it has caused me enough discomfort in my ear canals that I have taken it off. Obviously none of the kids had this issue, but I do have sensitive ears with too-small canals that are often painful anyway, so I’m not sure the Forbrain will work for me personally.
After discussing it as a family, our final verdict is that we think the Forbrain did work for us. We feel like we improved in the areas we hoped to, and if nothing else, perceived improvement gives confidence that leads to real improvement!
I feel confident recommending the Forbrain for anyone who would like to improve their focus, concentration, speech, or memory. We especially recommend it for use with language learning! The company also recommends this product for anyone, ages 3 to 100+, with language disorders, reading difficulties, auditory processing disorders, poor attention, learning disabilities, and speech difficulties and disorders such as dyspraxia/speech delay/phonological disorders.
Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions about our experience with the Forbrain!