Hearing aids break new ground in 2019

“What’s the latest technology out there?” I get asked this question all the time. Hearing aids are increasingly becoming tools that engage with every aspect of health, communication, and connectivity.

This year, Starkey is setting the bar for added functionality. Their new Livio AI hearing aids can perform functions that years ago would have seemed to come straight from the world of science fiction:

  • Fall Detection and Alerts: In the event of a fall, on-board accelerometer sensors will detect if you’ve fallen and then alert your emergency contact.

  • Pedometer and Heart Rate Monitor: These features empower people to effortlessly monitor and improve their overall health. We could be approaching an era where your hearing aid is the first to detect a potential health issue!

  • Amazon Alexa Assistant: Want to know if it’s going to rain? Tap your hearing aid and ask Alexa if you need an umbrella – she’ll reply right into your hearing aid!

We’ve seen innovations across a variety of other manufacturers as well:

  • Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Batteries: Say goodbye to changing those tiny batteries, since the new generation of lithium-ion batteries last the life of the hearing aid and provide up to 30 hours of use before needing to recharge. (Resound, Phonak, Oticon, Signia, & Starkey)

  • True Hands-Free Phone Calls: For the first time, you can answer phone calls directly into your hearing aid on any bluetooth-compatible phone. There’s no need to hold the phone; your voice is picked up by directional microphones for the other person to hear. Plus, you can use your hearing aids as headphones to listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks. (Phonak Audeo Marvel)

  • Titanium Invisible Hearing Aids: Hearing aids that fit deep into the ear canal can now be made from 3D printed titanium. This ultra-strong material allows the walls to be paper thin, resulting in hearing aids that are 26% smaller than those of previous generations. Far more hearing aid users now have the option to have the entire aid concealed in the canal. (Phonak Titanium)

  • Machine-Learning Algorithm: Use your smartphone to make simple comparisons of different settings while you go about your day in a variety of environments, and choose what sounds best each time. This cloud-based system takes your anonymous input and combines it with input from other Evoke users all over the world; collaboratively the algorithm is refined to optimize sounds for you no matter where you are. (Widex Evoke)

As an independently-owned hearing clinic, we are proud to carry every major hearing aid manufacturer, making us an ideal spot to explore and compare everything that’s new and exciting in the industry.