We are back with another edition of “What’s New in Hearing Aids,” this time for Fall 2018.
We’ve continued to expand beyond the traditional Big 6, and if there’s something you think we missed (or would like us to look into more next time) then leave us a comment below.
Since the launch of the Oticon Opn hearing aid in Spring 2016 Oticon has sold over 1 million Opn devices. The success of Opn comes from its focus on improving speech understanding in noisy environments, as well as its wireless Bluetooth connectivity to smartphones, TVs, etc.
This Fall Oticon is expanding its Opn line to include custom Made for iPhone hearing aids. This means that users will be able to receive the benefits of the Opn technology on the Velox platform in custom in-the-ear style hearing aids. Whether this will include completely-in-the-canal (CIC) and invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) custom styles is yet to be known. We will keep you updated.
Oticon is also releasing an economy level hearing aid called Siya that will be on the Velox platform. Siya will be an option for those who need a quality hearing aid on a tight budget.
In addition to the launch of the Opn custom products and the new economy line, Oticon has also recently released the Hearing Fitness App, which allows users of Opn products to track their hearing aid wearing habits on the app. This can provide insights on how to improve hearing abilities with the Opn devices. We talked more about this app in our Spring update but it was not actually released to the public until this Fall.
No news from Phonak yet. We will keep you updated.
ReSound has launched the LiNX Quattro hearing aid, the “world’s first premium-plus hearing aid”. The LiNX Quattro is on a new processing chip to deliver a wider dynamic range for clearer, richer, fuller sound quality. It is also Made for iPhone and will soon also be compatible for binaural streaming from Android phones.
LiNX Quattro comes in a receiver-in-the-ear (RIC) style and has a built in lithium-ion rechargeable battery, capable of up to 30 hours of battery life.
Built into the ReSound app, the Quattro device can be fine-tuned by your hearing healthcare provider remotely, saving users a visit to the clinic for adjustments.
Signia is continuing to expand their Nx line of products, which were originally introduced in Fall 2017.
Their new custom models include the Insio Nx ITE and ITC. These custom products include direct Bluetooth connectivity with smartphones, TV, and other Bluetooth devices, plus superior sound quality in noise thanks to their continuous ear-to-ear link and Soundscape Processing.
On the other end of the spectrum, Signia is also launching a new style hearing aid called the Signia Styletto Slim reciever-in-the-ear (RIC).
It is a hearing aid that is made to not look like a hearing aid. It makes the use of the shape of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery to create a slim design that breaks the mold of what a traditional behind-the-ear hearing aid looks like. The small charger is also great for people on-the-go, providing 3 full charges lasting up to 19 hours.
The Styletto is on the Nx platform which continues to provide its Own Voice Processing (OVP) feature. It is a stylish solution that is great for people who might otherwise delay wearing hearing aids because of the negative stigma surrounding them.
While it does not appear that Styletto has bluetooth streaming capability, it does have wireless functions that allow for use of the remote app, as well as Twin Phone feature that wirelessly streams the phone going into one ear to the opposite ear as well. Styletto is available in 3 performance levels.
On August 27th, 2018 Starkey unveiled its new hearing aid, the Livio AI device, the world’s first multi-purpose hearing aid with integrated sensors and artificial intelligence.
The four main features the Livio AI has includes:
- The best sounding hearing aid Starkey has ever made
- Fitness tracker
- Language translator
- Fall detector and alerts
The best sounding hearing aid
On their latest chip with quick speech processing Starkey notes that the Livio AI is the best sounding hearing aid they have ever made.
Livio AI is a made for iPhone hearing aid that works in sync with their app to track body and brain data.
The body section tracks steps, activity level, and movement over the course of the day.
The brain section tracks hearing aid use, social engagement, and active listening over the course of the day.
This data is combined to give you an overall body and brain score for the day, combined to give you your thrive score, from 0-200. This is meant to help motivate people to use their hearing aids more.
Sensors in the hearing aids will make information available to both the Apple Health app and the Google Fit app.
The Livio AI hearing aid also includes telehealth features that allow the hearing aid user to request remote hearing aid adjustments from their hearing aid provider.
The hearing aid acts as the sensor and the app acts as the translator. The translated audio signal is delivered to the hearing aid wearers ears for them to hear.
Fall detector and alerts
The National Council on Aging states that every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall.
Starkey is hoping to change these statistics by allowing the hearing aids to detect a fall and notify someone.
The Livio AI has addition features and accessories available, including a multi-function remote control/microphone and TV streamer. A tapping function on the side of the ear allows the user to change settings and/or start, stop, or pause streaming from the microphone or TV streamer. For people with poor dexterity that may have trouble finding a small button on the back of the hearing aid, this seems like it would be a very helpful feature.
This Spring Widex launched their EVOKE hearing aid, said to be the first hearing aid with real-time machine learning for more control in difficult listening environments using the SoundSense Learn smartphone app. The changes made by the user allows the hearing aid the learn and evolve, making a more personalized listening experience.
No news yet whether Widex will be expanding their EVOKE line but check back later for updates.