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AI hearing aid

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

An AI hearing aid is a computing device that can incorporate capabilities such as fitness tracking, audio streaming and translation in addition to the conventional function of enhancing sound for the end user. Advanced technologies also enable higher-level performance for hearing enhancement such as automatically adapting to specific types of environments and removing undesirable ambient noise.

Starkey Hearing Technologies’ Livio AI, which was unveiled in August 2018, is one of the first artificial intelligence (AI) hearing aids on the market. When Livio's directional microphones pick up audio data around the user, machine learning algorithms classify the environment and select the most effective listening mode. If the data the hearing aid collects indicates that the user is having a conversation in a noisy bar, for example, the hearing aid will automatically move into selective hearing mode by amplifying the voice of anyone who is directly in front of the user.

Although the Livio AI hearing aid qualifies as a medical device, the company is broadening its customer base by marketing the product as a smart wearable. The first release of Livio AI can translate 27 languages and stream audio from smartphones, smart TVs and other computing devices. When worn in both ears, the hearing aids can provide binaural sound to provide gamers and those using augmented reality (AR) apps with a life-like listening experience. Livio monitors physical activity, such as steps, and mental health variables, such as social engagement and provides a daily score through an associated smartphone app. The device can also detect user falls and send a text alert to emergency contacts.

Like other hearables, AI hearing aids are a potentially disruptive technology for the audiology industry because they can outperform conventional devices for a competitive price, while also avoiding the stigma associated with the strictly medical versions.

Watch the Livio AI product launch event:

This was last updated in January 2019

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