With Sensors and AI, These Smart Hearing Aids Are Meant Also for People Who Don’t Have Hearing Problems

Smart hearing aids


Smart hearing aids
Image: Starkey Hearing Technologies

In the last few years, hearing aids have come a long way and the technology within them is rapidly improving. Modern hearing aids are filled with equipment from the sensors to the artificial intelligence. They are to your ears like a mini machine. Not only do they make you hear better, they also make you lead a much fuller life. And though you don’t have one
A hearsay issue, you might want a wearable that tracks your heart rate, monitor vital signs, and translates foreign languages. The prices of these next-level hearing aids are next-level too. They normally cost $2,000 to $3000, even more.

Denmark based GN Hearing is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hearing aids, best known for its ReSound brand. GN Hearing also makes the Jabra ear buds, a very common line.

“The hearing assistants have undoubtedly changed completely, even in the last 10 years. Everything has changed dramatically, from the quality, functionality and even look, allowing people to seamlessly integrate hearing aids into their everyday life without hassle or embarrassment. There are many things that have become possible for hearing aid users. Today, you can connect them to a TV, iPhone or Android phone, wirelessly streaming anything from a phone call to music straight to your ears,” Laurel Christensen, Chief Audiology Officer at GN Hearing, told MedGadget.

Not all hearing aids, however, are in fact hearing aids, they are PSAPs, or Personal Sound Amplification products. While aids are medical devices approved by the FDA, these are not PSAPs. These devices don’t offer almost the same quality of sound, particularly in noisy situations. In a still environment, they might amplify speech a little, but they do not have the level of sophistication that hearing assistants have today, according to Christensen.

ReSound hearing aid
Image: ReSound

Starkey Hearing Technologies is a company based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota which produces smart hearing aids. Starkey is now making hearing aids which are also intended for people who do not need hearing aids. Their new Livio AI product uses tiny sensors and artificial intelligence to selectively filter noise and focus on specific sound sources — for example, the person at a busy restaurant across the table.

In addition, Livio AI tracks various health metrics such as walking steps, climbing stairs and cognitive activity. It can also translate 27 languages, and measure heart rate after a forthcoming update.

“Your hearing aids will be like Jarvis from Iron Man in the next five to seven years,” Starkey president Brandon Sawalich says. “It’s going to be your personal assistant. It’s going to know more about what’s going on with your body that you want to know—your heart rate, blood pressure, glucose. The ear is the new wrist.”

The most creative wearables event will be back at SEMICON West on 9-10 July to celebrate the 34th edition of the WT Wearable Technologies Conference Series in beautiful San Francisco. Topics include data analytics in professional sports, wearable prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, the future of digital health, medication and adherence, smart patches, optimisation of workflow and, workflow optimization and workforce safety and much more – featuring international leaders and experts of the wearables industry´s biggest names including Abbott, Autodesk, Datwyler, Kopin, Maxim Integrated, Multek, NFLPA, Omron, SharkDreams, Qualcomm,and many more.

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