New smart hearing aid technologies showcased at CES 2019 include the Oticon KAIZN, ReSound LiNX Quattro and Nuheara IQbuds MAX
From earbuds that cancel out all background noise to Alexa-enabled devices, a number of new smart hearing aid technologies are coming on to the market.
Building on the success of wearable, a wave of “hearables” are equipping people with hearing difficulties advanced tech to make their lives easier.
From simply helping people hear better to providing additional health data, it’s become an active market field gaining real value and steadily advancing into the mainstream.
At this year’s CES 2019 – also known as the Consumer Electronics Show – in Las Vegas, global tech companies came together to introduce and preview their cutting-edge products consisting of many “world firsts”.
These include everything from integrating AI-powered tools to personalising data for wearers, with some designs picking up honours at the CES Innovation Awards that took place at the end of last year.
We profile some of the most innovative smart hearing aids, which are all compatible with smartphones.
Oticon KAIZN: The ‘personal AI assistant for your ears’
In a bid to pushing smart hearing enhancements forward is the Kaizn smart hearing aid, which claims to be the world’s first “personal AI assistant for your ears”.
This feature collects data from users to provide them with real-time hearing aid recommendations and adjustments, as part of its ambition to improve human health and lifestyle through hearing.
Manufacturer Oticon KAIZN says: “Just as Spotify recommends new songs based on a user’s past listening behaviour, artificial intelligence built into Kaizn learns from a hearing aid wearer’s listening preferences, habits, and environments to predict their preferences in a particular sound scenario and automatically adjust their hearing aid settings for an optimised listening experience.”
It was recognised in the 2019 CES Innovation Awards, receiving the 2019 CES best of innovation award in the software and mobile apps category, and was named a CES innovation honouree in the tech for a better world category.
Oticon is previously best known for creating the world’s first internet-connected hearing aid, named Opn.
ReSound LiNX Quattro: The “fuller sounds experience” for a smart hearing aid
Billed as the the world’s first “premium-plus” smart hearing aid, the ReSound LiNX Quattro was another product recognised as a CES 2019 Innovation Awards honouree.
This was in the accessibility category, which is for devices with intelligent tools accommodating for elderly and disabled people.
Utilising an advanced chip platform with 100% more speed and twice the memory capacity than ReSound’s previous product, it says the rechargeable LiNX Quattro is powered by new technology that delivers clearer speech and new fuller sound experience.
The company says: “In a direct comparison, where hearing aid users were asked to listen to music and rate the sound, the ultimate test of sound quality, 95% of respondents preferred ReSound LiNX Quattro compared to other premium hearing aids.”
Nuheara IQbuds MAX: Earphones with noise cancellation for listening to music
An established smart hearing business, Nuheara’s wireless smart earbuds IQbuds MAX are equipped with three microphones.
The company says its product – aimed at general consumers – is “the first intelligent hearing buds with active noise cancellation”.
Implementing an active hybrid active noise cancellation, unnecessary noise can be instantly filtered out and blocked – improving sound quality for people listening to music.
WIDEX EVOKE: World’s first battery-free smart hearing aid
Danish manufacturer Widex has launched the WIDEX EVOKE machine learning hearing aid, which it says is the world’s first battery-free hearing aid, powered by fuel cell technology.
A 20-second recharge keeps the device functioning up to 24 hours. The company says it will be available this summer.
The device was named a CES 2019 best of innovation awards honouree at the CES 2019 Innovation Awards in the fitness, sports and biotech product category.
Livio AI: Smart hearing aid with Alexa connectivity
The multifunctional hearing aid released by Starkey Hearing Technologies will be the “first ever” to consist of a fall detector, a heart rate monitor and the convergence of AI.
This allows the product to feature Amazon Alexa connectivity and direct tracking with Apple Health and Google Fit, earning the smart hearing aid CES 2019 Innovation Awards honouree recognition for accessibility.
The product is available in the US and Canada, and reported to be available to more than 20 countries later this year.