man wearing hearing aid looking at smartphoneArtificial intelligence (AI) is no longer solely the stuff of Steven Spielberg movies.

AI has been reality for years now on many smart devices, including next-generation hearing aids. AI is increasingly redefining how people with hearing loss communicate. Manufacturers such as Oticon and Starkey are leading the next wave of hearing aid technology that allows devices to function more like the human ear. 

Actually, many of the technological advancements of hearing aids go beyond – way beyond – the capabilities of the human ear. Next-generation devices use biometric sensor technology that provides many health benefits.

Hearing Associates in Mason City, Iowa offers a number of hearing aids featuring the latest technology that redefines what it means to have hearing loss.

New receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aids, borrowing technology used in smartwatches, use a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor that can measure vital signs such as heart rate, oxygenation and blood pressure. These numbers can help identify issues with conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, stroke or cancer. The devices can measure step counts and calories burned, as well.

Sensors placed in the ears are more accurate than those place on our wrist – in fact, the ear can measure more biometrics than any other part of the body. RIC hearing aids are discreet units worn behind the ear with a thin wire of tubing leading to a soft tip that sits inside the ear canal. These hearing aids are an ideal choice for relatively active people with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Oticon’s AI Capabilities

The latest offerings from Oticon, including the Opn S™ and the Opn Play™, push the boundaries of what is possible in hearing for adults and children, respectively.

The Opn S is a rechargeable device that puts speech understanding on par with normal hearing in a variety of settings, giving you the confidence to be part of the group. With the Opn S, you can choose to focus on one or multiple speakers, a technological advancement that helps you understand speech better with less effort.

The Opn Play helps children adapt to the confusing world of hearing loss with OpenSound Navigator™ technology that improves speech understanding in noisy environments. They’re better able to differentiate between meaningful sounds and irrelevant background noises. These devices are available in several styles and colors to suit the personality of your child.

Oticon took AI technology to another level last year with its Kaizn™, billed as the world’s first personal AI assistant for your ears. Kaizn’s technology learns from the hearing aid wearer’s preferences in different environments to adjust automatically, creating optimized listening experiences in any setting. It provides real-time adjustments and recommendations. For example, it can ask the wearer via a push notification whether they want “focus” or “comfort” in a noisy environment, adjusting settings based on that preference.

Starkey Blends Improved Sound With Health Features

Starkey’s Livio® AI is billed as the first hearing aid to blend integrated sensors and AI. If you fall, the device can detect that and act as a personal assistant – sending an alert text message to your selected contacts. This capability can be done automatically or manually, based on your preference.

The rechargeable Livio AI also delivers in the sound quality department, using its Hearing Reality™ technology to help you hear effectively in noisy settings. It earned top ratings in a recent study for its ability to produce superior sound quality, natural hearing, listening clarity and easy transitions.

The Thrive™ Assistant is an app-based feature of the Livio AI that helps you manage and operate your hearing aids. The app can also help track brain and body benefits of wearing your hearing aids, measuring hours of use, social engagement, steps taken and overall movement levels.

For more information on how Hearing Associates can boost your hearing health with AI-capable devices at one of our locations, call us at 888.760.2032 or request an appointment online.