As a health wearable that far predates the invention of the term, hearing aids have always been an interesting spot. Now Minnesota hearing aid company Starkey Hearing Technologies, which launched one of the first hearing aids to connect directly to an iPhone back in 2014, has launched Livio AI. The product hopes to combine the feature sets of a hearing aid, a fitness wearable, and an AI health coach into one assistive product that can also help users communicate in other languages and, in the future, detect dangerous falls.
“Artificial intelligence, coupled with advanced sensing devices, is rapidly changing the world around us,” Starkey Hearing Technologies Chief Technology Officer and EVP of Engineering Dr. Achin Bhowmik said in a statement. “We are proud to introduce these transformational technologies into the world of hearing aids to both optimize the users’ hearing experiences and enable them to continuously monitor and improve their overall health besides treating hearing loss, reducing the associated risks of dementia, anxiety, and social isolation.”
The hearing aid contains inertial sensors that can integrate with Apple Health and Google Fit. These sensors allow the wearer to use their hearing aid to track their activity. A new app, Thrive Hearing, converts this data, as well as social engagement data, to a brain and body wellness score. These inertial sensors will also be used for fall detection after future app updates, the company said in a release.
“Livio AI lets you help patients of all ages take a proactive approach to their overall wellness,” the company explains on its website. “3D motion sensors that detect movement, activity, and gestures are integrated into each hearing aid. This information gives your patients access to feedback about their overall body fitness and mental fitness. Users can easily view and manage their health information with the Thrive Hearing app and receive daily feedback on their progress by viewing their Thrive Wellness Score. This full-featured, user-friendly app allows patients to also see activity progress via the Body Score, and the benefits of wearing hearing aids to their mental fitness via the Brain Score.”
That Brain Score is made up of “hours of daily use, social engagement, and the tracking of active listening,” according to the company’s website.
Livio AI also has advanced hearing aid features, of course. The company boasts 50 percent noise reduction, reduced listening effort, and enhanced clarity of speech. It even has a translation feature that can record speech in another language, translate it in the app, and then speak the translation directly into the user’s ear.
The device is compatible with a company-made TV, remote control, and microphone, the latter of which allows users to access Amazon’s Alexa through their hearing aids, as well as to stream phone audio.
“What makes today a pivotal moment in the hearing industry, is that with Livio AI, we have transformed a single-use device into the world’s first multi-purpose hearing aid, a Healthable with integrated sensors and artificial intelligence,” Starkey Hearing Technologies President Brandon Sawalich said in a statement. “Livio AI is so much more than just a hearing aid, it is a gateway to better health and wellness.”