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Innovation in hearing aids

 
The Hearing Aid Technology so far – Latest in Trend
From the era of its invention as a BTE device in the 1960s, the hearing aid has come a long way. From the early days of the hearing aid, they were generally big and easy to spot out in the crowd.  They were generally designed to fit uncomfortably behind the ear and amplify every single sound around. This sometimes made it very difficult to get used to the device on time. Years down the line, there have been consistent improvement and modifications made to the hearing aid. Today, we have hearing aids much sleeker and fits better like a gadget from one of our detective movies. This is a lot of modification when compared to the earlier versions of the product.
While a lot of manufacturers tend to introduce new designs of the product yearly, major modifications to the hearing aid usually take a period of 4 years. In recent times, we have a lot of hearing aids that are designed to pair with our electronic devices. With the introduction of the telecoil and teleloop technology, pairing hearing aids with external systems like the cinema and studio sound system is a lot easier.
In 2019, there are some outstanding introductions into the field of the hearing aid. The world today is booming with smartphones and other high-end electronic devices it is no longer strange to find hearing aids equipped with the Bluetooth technology. We certainly love the convenience of operating our devices from one place at ease. If you’re a tech-savvy, then the recent upgrades will certainly get you thrilled. Just sit back while I walk you through the recent upgrades in the field of hearing aids.
There are a lot of manufacturers that produce both the BTE (Behind-the-ear) and the ITE(In-The-Ear) models of the hearing aid with Bluetooth connectivity. Companies like the Oticon finally introduced the OPN which is designed to be compatible with the Apple iPhone and all other Apple devices. This device enables the user to stream their music from all their platform to their hearing aid. The fun part of the hearing aid is its wireless connectivity. There are, however, some other devices that may need the aid of a streamer to enable you to enjoy the hands-free mode of the hearing aid.
Some of the types of hearing aid that offer Bluetooth streaming technology are the Oticon OPN, the ReSound LiNX, and the Signia Insio Nx.
Some of the upgrades to your favorite hearing aids
It’s difficult to walk along street corners or visit your local café without seeing people either glued to the glowing lights on their phone screen or smiling back at who knows what on their phone. The mobile phone companies are releasing new brands on a yearly basis. In the future, we might just forget everything about the landline telephones for good.
You do not necessarily be the owner of a big smartphone to be able to use your hearing aid successfully. However, the smartphone makes it a lot easier to go through your hearing aid functions, make selections and the necessary adjustments easier. In recent years, the focus of most hearing aid manufacturers is on smartphone compatible devices. This is certainly an added advantage to the user. Besides giving them total control over their device performance in different environments, it reduces the risks associated with taking out the hearing aid from time to time in order to make the needed adjustment.
This smartphone support upgrade has bypassed the stress hearing aid users have to pass through in the past to get their hearing aids adjusted when the need arises. Changing settings of your hearing aid has become as easy as changing the settings of your phone without drawing unnecessary attention. The timing of this upgrade is certainly a good one. It came at the time when more people are opting for hands-free devices. Nobody wants to go through all that unnecessary stress these days. This has greatly affected the demand for the hands-free device positively. The mobile phone connectivity app serves as a form of remote control for the hearing aid.
The Call-to-text app hearing support app
The Phonak industries in 2019 introduced the call-to-text app. This powerful tool helps you read in real time the conversation on the phone. Following a conversation with a hearing loss problem can be a lot more frustrating that can be expressed on paper. Try following a conversation with tight ear muffs. This will give you a slight experience of what it feels like to struggle with a hearing problem.
The call-to-text app works by converting the conversation of your conversation partner into text so you can read it in real time and follow the conversation much easier. The app also equipped to enable you to save the conversation for reading later in your free time. This app is certainly going to enjoy a lot of publicity in 2019 and the years to come.
Small is the new sexy
The hearing aid is constantly growing smaller and sleeker in design as well as more effective in performance and quality. Almost all the brands available today manufacture In-the-ear hearing aids (ITE). This kind of hearing aid is further divided into two smaller models, the invisible in the canal (IIC) and completely in the canal (CIC). These kinds of hearing aids are designed for complete privacy. You hardly notice that they are there when they are worn in the ear.
The downside to this device is that the specification for each individual differs. It’s not a one size fits all kind of bargain. There are a lot of factors that are put into consideration before one of these models will be prescribed for a patient. The degree of hearing loss and the size of the ear canal.
These types of the hearing aid are very tiny and as such, the technology may not be sufficient enough to handle severe cases of hearing loss. Most people prefer to go for behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids as they are better at handling from mild to severe cases of hearing loss.  Behind the ear hearing aids have undergone a lot of modifications in recent times. They are now smaller than their original size as well as have better fitting and appearance.
One of the recent behind the ear technology with a whole new look is the stiletto Nx from the manufacturer Signia. The Styletto is a highly improved and technologically advanced hearing aid. The device has successfully broken the long-accepted design when it comes to behind the ear hearing aid.
This product’s unique and sleek design makes it look more like a complementary fashion addition and not a hearing aid. The product comes in different designs and colors to ensure that everybody is satisfied. The color combinations that you will likely see are Dark granite and silver, rose gold and snow white.
The Styletto is designed with a tiny compartment that houses the battery and the speaker. This makes it appear almost invisible when worn behind the ear. It is designed to deliver an outstanding sound quality which is made possible by the new Signia Nx platform designed for high-end performance. The stylleto is also designed with a rechargeable battery. One full charge can keep running for approximately 9 hours. It takes about 3 hours to charge fully too.
Improved Performance – Meet The Phonak Marvel Platform
There is a lot more introduction to the hearing aid than just sleek designs and fashionable models. Phonak introduced its most effective and technologically advanced hearing aid yet. Its performance platform is superb with outstanding performance and sound clarity. The Phonak marvel is a new hearing aid platform designed for the Audeo M model hearing aid from Phonak. The AutoSense OS 3.0 is what is referred to as the marvel platform from Phonak. The platform is designed to give the most recent Phonak technologies the ability to match up and adapt to a variety of real-life environments better and also help to adjust to more hearing circumstances. Some of the benefits of this platform include:

  • High-end clear quality of streamed sounds.
  • Enhancement of sound quality while maintaining speech recognition and hearing ability.
  • Identify and adjusts automatically to accurately match the real-life listening situation better than its earlier designs.
  • The marvel platform gives the Phonak the ability to identify and classify streamed signals. Thus, it is the first hearing aid to do that in history.
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity from any device directly into your hearing aid.
  • Comes with an inbuilt microphone to enable you to enjoy hands-free services via your mobile phone whether Android or
  • Rechargeable batteries for ease of use. Ensures you get a full day of an improved hearing on a single3-hour charge.
  • It also has a smartphone compatible app that gives you the ability to enhance your settings, increase or reducing your volume, and even offers the speech-to-text options.

Meet the new hearing aid device called the Livio AI from Starkey
As the name implies, Livio AI utilizes the power of artificial intelligence. It is in fact, the first hearing aid to adopt this technology. This enables it to adjust automatically and provide the best sound quality yet. The Livio AI is also designed with the capability to keep track of your mental and physical health. Like other devices, it is also very much compatible with other wireless devices such as the smartphone, distant microphone and even the TV streamer. It boasts of better sound quality through an enhanced noise management system. AI technology enables the device to communicate with several other devices at the same time for better performance when it comes to dealing with background noise. The smartphone app is designed with a number of customizable options for sound. The sound is adjusted on levels which are: – ultra-high, high, medium and low. There are a few other features that are worth mentioning when talking about this device.
Inbuilt sensors: These sensors are designed to keep track of your mental and physiological activities. This helps you to keep track of your overall health. This in a way reduces the risk of a number of health issues that may occur.
Speech translator: This technology keeps getting better and better. Earlier designs or the hearing aid app did not enjoy the capability the app has today. It is designed to track the conversation and translate them into different languages. This translated speech will now be sent to the ear through the hearing aid for easier understanding. You will hear the speech in your default set language.
The Fall Detector: People with hearing loss are highly prone to a fall than people with normal hearing. The Livio AI is designed with a fall detector to help keep a record of how many times the user falls. This can provide some sort of guidance to you over a period of time to be more conscious and maintain more balance in your daily routine.
The Phonak Binaural Voice Streaming Innovation
It is certainly a fact that two ears are better than one when it comes to hearing. This is why binaural voice streaming technology was designed to enhance hearing. This technology works by streaming the full audio bandwidth bi-directionally and in real life. This simple technique eliminates some hearing challenges by simulating what the brain does with sound coming in from both ears. The linking of two hearing aids ensures that speech hearing will be enjoyed in both ears. This is most useful in noisy environments. This innovation also helps to track sounds even when the speaker is out of sight or behind the hearing aid wearer.
The all-new AirStream Technology
The air stream technology is one of the innovations that come with the Phonak marvel platform. This technology delivers high-quality streaming from any compatible TV device or stereo sound system. The Phonak uses a simple plug and plays solution via a connector to provide high-quality sound streaming of your selected TV programs and movies and a clear and high-quality sound. This technique is similar to the use of headphones but takes the system even better through its ability to distinguish between streamed sounds and other sound signals. This Phonak Marvel gives the hearing aid the ability to adjust for a better hearing quality.
Meet Roger Technology – sound streaming made easier and clearer
When it comes to hearing aid technology, Roger is definitely a step ahead. It’s a breakthrough in the hearing aid technology. The Marvel hearing aid technology offers theRogerDirect uses the roger microphones to stream sounds directly to the hearing aids. This bypasses the need for an external receiver. With this innovative technology a hearing aid user is now endowed with the ability to pick up clear sounds even in very noisy locations such as restaurants, construction sites, meetings and other activities that involve a lot of noise.
The lithium-ion batteries – Rechargeable hearing aid devices
There are a lot of companies these days pushing for rechargeable hearing aids. The Phonak brand is one of the greatest pioneers of the rechargeable hearing aids. With the introduction of the lithium-ion rechargeable batteries to the hearing aid, the hearing aid has moved to a whole new level. No more the thoughts of buying batteries all the time and even saves the hearing aid from unwanted accidents of a fall during battery change and replacements. The lithium-ion batteries can last for up to 6 years before a replacement is needed. That is a whole lot of time to relax and focus on other things rather than thinking of how to replace worn out batteries. You can go a whole day streaming your favorite music without the fear of having to change batteries any time soon. A lithium-ion battery takes up to 3 hours to recharge and can last up to 19 hours depending on the usage. This is certainly about a whole day of usage without worries. The charging option for rechargeable hearing aids is also very easy to use. A lot of them come with mini charger case to make it convenient to carry the charger about. It also comes with a standard USB – C charging outlet.
Upgrades to hearing aid functionality
There are a lot of upgrades over the past few years when it comes to hearing aid technology. There are a lot of hardware upgrades as well as software improvements. We had firmware upgrades from companies like the Widex, Oticon and a whole lot of companies in the past. 2019 offers even something much better than what we have had in the past. With an explosion in the field of technology, a lot of ideas that seem impossible in now achievable. This growth has led to advanced innovation in the field of hearing aid. From analog sound to the digital sound system and now the introduction of the AI has offered a whole new level of control to the hearing aid technology. The AI system is designed to continually introduce the latest upgrades to the hearing aid device. Starkey in 2019 announced that they will be introducing new upgrades to their hearing aid the Livio AI which will give the hearing aid expanded functionalities. Companies like Widex and the ReSound are not also left out of the AI innovation. Each company keeps pushing forward with new ideas. One thing remains certain, that in years to come, the hearing aid will certainly become so advanced that hearing will fee almost natural. That is in the future though, we are still yet to get there.
The Introduction of the AI and its impact on the hearing aid industry
This is a whole lot of addition in the industry. With our understanding of the AI system, we know that they are designed to get better over the years. This means that a hearing device you purchase today will perform better in 2 years’ time and this is even bound to improve after a 5-year period. This is a kind of turnaround in the original order of things. Initially, getting better performance means one thing which is paying for a new device. With the AI technology, you get upgrades directly to your hearing aid. This, however, does not mean that there will be no new models and the need to change a hearing aid. It only reduces the frequency of change. Certainly, we will have super and more advanced models of the device coming up in the future. The rate at which the hearing aid technology is advancing is fast and there are no signs it will get slower someday. Your existing hearing aids will certainly get better but there will certainly be something in the future models that will be invited to give them a try.
2019 and 2020 will be a special year for Android users. There are ongoing plans to release the Made for Android version of the hearing aids devices and apps. The company ReSound is working on introducing the Quattro hearing aid range into the market that will have full Android support. This again boils down on how fast ReSound and Google work on the protocol and modalities on how the hearing aid will perform.
This step is quite an interesting one for Android users who also use the hearing aid. This will also give Android users all the functionalities that are also available to iPhone users.  This will open up a whole new level of understanding and expanded functionality. Of course, it also signifies a whole new level of business partnership between the two companies. This can also open up the opportunities of business on a much-advanced level. Perhaps we might expect something like Google assistance as a part of the hearing aid device in the long run.
The hearing aid technology may not be certainly a new concept but then it is certainly driven by new ideas. We are bound to see much more improvements made to the hearing aid device as technology becomes better.