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That awkward moment when you're wearing headphones and the checkout person asks you a question. What to do? Try the Cleer Flow II headphones!

Cleer Flow II Headphones

£249, cleeraudio.com

I think of it as one of those modern dilemmas about manners. My wife just thinks of it as me being insufferably rude.

But if you’re wearing headphones, what do you do when you have to politely inform someone at the checkout that no, you don’t have a reward card, and nor are you interested in acquiring one?

That awkward moment when you're wearing headphones and the checkout person asks you a question. What to do? Try the Cleer Flow II headphones!

The Cleer Flow II Headphones. They are armed with every technology under the sun, including noise-cancelling

Normally, I flinch in terror when I see someone asking something, and move one earphone off my ear while wagging my head to indicate that I am listening. My wife thinks I should be removing the cans entirely, or (ideally) not wearing them at all.

But Cleer’s new Flow II headphones offer a smarter way of doing it. When you need to talk, you hold one hand up to the left ear cup, a sensor picks up the movement and the audio is muted, so you can exchange important information such as the fact that you don’t want a 20p ‘bag for life’.

It works instantly, and well.

In addition to this nifty gizmo, Cleer’s headphones are armed with every technology under the sun, including noise-cancelling (which promises to cut out 99.5 per cent of background noise, much like those toilet-cleaners that promise to get rid of very nearly, but not quite all, bacteria). But they are unnervingly silent: a good way to cut down everything from traffic to office chit-chat.

They go for 20 hours, even with the noise-cancelling switched on, before they need charging

There’s also Google Assistant, if you’re comfortable with walking down the street saying: ‘OK Google, what’s the weather today?’ I have to admit, I’m not.

And they go for 20 hours, even with the noise-cancelling switched on, before they need charging.

Sonically, these aren’t quite the match of Bowers & Wilkins’s pricier cans but they’re good – and may help to rehabilitate my image in my local supermarket.

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