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  • Starkey Offers Preview Video of Livio AI Hearing Aid.
    19 Jul , 2018














    Starkey Offers Preview Video of Livio AI Hearing Aid.



    Starkey Hearing Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn, has offered a teaser video of the company’s Livio AI hearing aid, what it reports to be the world’s first hearing aid with sensors and artificial intelligence. The official launch of Livio AI is on August 27.

    The video offers no specific details about what the sensor(s) in the Livio AI will do, or how AI will be employed. (Stay tuned for that information on August 27th).

    You can watch the video here:


    As reported in The Hearing Review, the company announced at its 2018 Innovations Expo that it would be bringing to market the world’s first hearing aid with inertial sensors that can provide information for physical activity tracking. Along with physical fitness applications (like theDash Pro tailored by Starkey), these sensors may also be used for balance management and the detection of falls—a massive $67.7 billion public health problem by 2020 which is currently responsible for an older adult being admitted to a US emergency room every 13 seconds.

    With big tech companies spending billions on AI and hiring from an incredibly small talent pool of around 25,000 AI researchers worldwide, the market rate for candidates just out of PhD programs is well in excess of $300,000 per year. For experienced AI talent, salaries balloon above seven figures—not including signing bonuses. As high-tech and innovative as hearing aid companies are, this is not a space in which they are well positioned to compete for talent. Nevertheless, before the market for AI researchers became white hot, hearing aid companies had been working on various AI and machine learning approaches for quite some time. The removal of specific technological constraints, combined with the hearing aid industry’s need to address new and disruptive service delivery models, indicates that the time to bring AI to the hearing care market is now.

    Until the widespread adoption of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled hearing aids, there was not a clear use case for either machine learning or AI in hearing aids. Hearing aids were small islands of computing power limited by their small energy-efficient microprocessors. There was simply no option to perform the computationally intensive processes necessary for AI. Now, BLE connectivity grants hearing aids connection, not just to mobile devices, but also to our greater cloud computing infrastructure.

    At the 2018 Innovations Expo, Starkey CTO and Executive VP of Engineering Achin Bhowmik—who had previously served as VP of Perceptual Computing at Intel—also spoke about how, in the future, artificial intelligence (AI) would be used in hearing aids for natural responses to voice commands, and eventually be able to provide advanced capabilities like real-time language translation.

    These next generation intelligent hearing aid systems require three specific elements: (1) hearing aids with energy-efficient wireless connectivity, which gives them access to external computing power; (2) the ability for a hearing care professional to securely program a hearing aid from a distance, which gives the user access to the highest level of hearing care at all times—even in real-world environments; and (3) mobile phones with sufficient computing power to run AI on-device, which support the dynamically responsive intelligent hearing aids and provide the additional benefits of protecting user privacy and reducing the mobile device power consumption associated with cellular connection to a cloud based server (which would have been needed if the AI was run in the cloud rather than on the user’s mobile device). The first element enables the latter two, while the latter two elements give end-users access to the best combination of human and machine intelligence.

    Source: Starkey, The Hearing Review, Hearing Health and Technology Matters,Chris Heddon.

    Image credit: Starkey