New Starkey hearing aid has language translator and monitors brain activity

"Untreated hearing loss contributes to social isolation, depression, and has even been linked to cognitive decline."

Edgar Linares
August 27, 2018 - 9:27 pm

Courtesy of Starkey

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Eden Prairie-based Starkey’s new hearing aid, Livio AI (Artificial Intelligence), has people who are not hard of hearing wearing the device because of all the new features it contains.

“We’re pretty excited, because over 18 months we’ve been working on a technology that kind of expands the hearing aid from hearing into a more health-able type device, think about the ear as the new wrist,” said Brandon Sawalich, President of Starkey Hearing Technologies. “We’re trying to make the hearing aid cool.”

The company says Livio AI features text and app notifications, real-time language translation and brain activity tracking. The company is also looking down the road on how they can incorporate blood pressure, and heart rate monitoring, as well as sleep management.

The hearing aid works with a smartphone app that tracks the body and brain. For the body it collects steps, exercise, and simply getting up and moving around. For the brain, it tracks how often people wear their hearing aids; it also tracks “social engagement”, conversations; and it tracks “dynamic listening environments” such as concerts, going to a place of worship or restaurants.

“We know in the aging population, that with untreated hearing loss it contributes to social isolation, depression, and has even been linked to cognitive decline,” said Dr. Dave Fabry, Starkey’s Chief Innovation Officer.

Once Livio AI collects the data each day, it’s loaded into a smartphone app and it gives people a “Thrive Score”. Scores of 100 measures the body and brain. If you score an 80 for example on your body, you’re encouraged to beat that score the next day.

Courtesy of Starkey

“The end user is challenged to try and exceed to be better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today,” said Dr. Fabry.

It’s not just baby boomers using hear aids, Starkey says there’s a quiet pandemic of 1 in 7 teenagers having hearing loss due to new technology and loud music.

The hearing aid is only available in the U.S. and Canada and 20 others countries next year.