Hearing aids and AI have met and the result is Starkey Hearing Technologies’ Livio AI. Originally, the AI-based hearing aids tracked brain activity, body health, and offered in-ear language translation. Now, in addition to this, Starkey has integrated fall detection and alerts, a virtual assistant, and heart rate monitoring, all happening from your ear.
Using integrated fall sensors, the hearing aids automatically detect falls and send a message to at least three emergency contacts if a fall is detected. The company claims there are many benefits to integrating fall sensors into a hearing aid rather than a having individuals wear a lanyard or other wearable.
“The first key advantage is that a hearing aid is almost always in your ear during your active hours, making for one less thing to carry or remember. One of the major problems with medical alert systems is getting people to wear them,” said CTO Achin Bhowmik, PhD, according to Hearing Review. “Second, we have two fall detection sensors [in binaural fittings] for the right side and the left side, whereas most fall detection systems have only one. And the way the two sensors are spaced apart and the way in which you hold your head, we can get better and more accurate results than neck-worn sensors designed to detect falls.”
Additionally, Bhowmik said the sensors can differentiate between accidentally dropping a hearing aid and actually falling. The company spent a lot of time creating a hearing aid that eliminated false-positives.
“A good AI system is only as good as the data you train the system with,” said Bhowmik. “In this particular case, if the left hearing aid detects a fall, it immediately checks with the right hearing aid to see if the data matches what would indicate a fall for the system. Unless it detects a fall from the hearing aids in tandem for both the right and left sides of the head, the device will eliminate those non-fall events and false-positives.”
Along with the fall sensors is an app-based assistant that can answer questions such as, “What’s the weather today?” or “How active have I been today?” The app provides registered body and brain assessments from the user, and provides individuals with a body score, brain score, and an overall score.
“This is such an exciting time to be a part of the hearing industry,” said Bhowmik.