AI-powered hearing aids that adapt to your lifestyle
The Oticon Kaizn hearing aids and the AI powered app Billed as a personal assistant for your ears, Oticon’s Kaizn is an AI powered smartphone app that helps personalise how your hearing aid works. It works in conjunction with Oticon’s Opn hearing aids. According to the manufacturer, it ‘collects and analyses data about an individual’s hearing aid use and listening environments’ and then send you push notifications in real time with advice on adjustments. For example, if you walk into a loud restaurant, Kaizn might ask you whether you need ‘focus’ or ‘comfort’ in that atmosphere, and adjust the hearing aid accordingly, making the process of adjusting your hearing aids easier on-the-go. Over time, the app is designed to learn your preferences and automate some of these adjustments according to your previous preferences in similar environments. Oticon’s Kaizn won an Innovation Award at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Hearing aid features explained – find out what to look for NHS vs private hearing aid providers – your choices explained
The hearing aid that’s also a health tracker
A fall detection feature is planned for a future update, which senses when someone has fallen over and send out an alert to a nominated person. Livio AI is currently only available in the United States and Canada, but should be rolled out to 20 more countries in 2019.
Hearing aids you control via your smartphone
More and more hearing aids are coming complete with their own apps, making it easier for users to control and personalise their settings via a smartphone or tablet. One of the nifty-sounding features of Livio’s app, Thrive, is that it allows users to create geotagged ‘memories’ for their hearing aids, to automatically adjust to your preferred settings in specific places you’ve been before, like your local coffee shop. The app also collates the tracked health data from Livio to give you a ‘Body’ score – based on a combination of step count and other movement – and a ‘Brain’ score, which is based on things like daily use, ‘engagement’ in conversations or streaming, and active listening in different environments.
Hearing aids with remote support
Both the Livio AI hearing aid and the ReSound Linx Quattro (currently available from around £1300 – £1700 per ear) come with the ability to request fine-tuning of your hearing aids from a professional. The Phonak Audeo Marvel also has remote support services. Its app lets you keep a hearing diary so you can log your experiences with your hearing aid and share them directly with an audiologist, allowing for more accurate feedback. The Phonak Audeo Marvel The Phonak Audio Marvel was also a 2019 honoree at the CES innovation awards. It’s available in the UK from about £1700 per ear.
A battery-free hearing aid
Widex has developed the world’s first battery-free hearing aid, the Widex Evoke, which contains the smallest commercially available ‘fuel cell’ that re-energises in 20 seconds and provides 24 hours use, meaning you never need to change the batteries again. It has already been recognised as a CES Best of Innovation Honoree and at the Red Dot design awards. It’s set to be available from summer 2019. Like other new hearing aids, it has app control too.
Headphones for people with hearing loss It’s not just about hearing aids, wider tech developments are taking the needs of those with hearing issues into account. As Jesal Vishnuram points out: ‘We are also seeing mainstream tech developers, particularly headphone developers, creating devices with personalised hearing settings which will hopefully bring more choice and improved technology for people with hearing loss to live life independently.’ The Nuheara IQ buds For example, Nuheara’s IQBuds let you selectively tune in or out of ambient sound, as the situation demands. You can choose to enhance speech in busy restaurants, or tone down the loud screeching of the tube. They’re available in the UK for around £200. How to buy the best headphones – cut through the jargon with our handy guide How expensive are hearing aids? The hearing aids above are only available privately, so they won’t be affordable for everyone. We don’t have all the prices yet as some haven’t quite reached the UK, but most will offer a range of models from standard to premium – so there’s likely to be quite a broad price bracket.