In May Starkey took the wraps off their vision of where hearing devices are heading next. The device was launched with a reference to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ launch of the iPhone in 2007. The iPhone changed the landscape of the smartphone market dramatically and showed people what was possible beyond a phone just being a phone.
Starkey’s aim with their new Livio AI hearing device is the same. Take the hearing aid beyond what a hearing aid has been.
Their strategy uses the same method Apple did with the iPhone. Apple successfully merged a phone, an Internet browsing device, and a music player (and so much more eventually with apps) into one device. Convergence was the name of the game.
Convergence for Starkey means providing the best hearing experience possible but marrying that with a number of new features never seen in hearing aids before.
So what extra tricks have Starkey decided to shoehorn into the Livio AI? Quite a few it seems and they all seem to be a natural fit for a device most people would be wearing for the majority of their waking life.
But before we look at the features, let’s look at the technology they have included and are taking advantage of to make all this appear seamless.
The first thing they did was cram two radios into the device: a 2.4GHz Bluetooth radio to allow you to connect to your smartphone, and NFMI to allow two Livio devices (on either side of your head) to talk effectively to each other.
Next thing they did was throw in an accelerometer and a gyroscope. This is what allows the Livio AI to track some of the physical activity of the wearer. These are items we have had in our phones for a while but it’s the first time they have been shoehorned into a hearing aid.
So let’s run down a list of the capabilities of this new Starley Livio AI.
This really is the big move for convergence devices. Initially smartphones started off with features able to track your activity and movement. Then came fitbits and watches and, like a watch, your hearing aids are items you will usually wear the whole day. As such they really are the natural tool to track your health.
The Livio AI uses three measures to give you a daily Body Score: steps per day, activity (eg walking pace or faster), and how much you move throughout the day. Each item is given a score and these three scores add up to give you a Body Score. Starkey says that they have been able to achieve a 99% accuracy for correctly tracking these items on a daily basis.
The Livio AI goes one step further. It also tracks your brain. It does this by keeping track of how long you are using your hearing aids each day, engagement (monitoring listening and streaming activity), and finally what Starkey are calling Active Listening: how many varied listening environments are you in each day.
These three items add up to your Brain Score and adding this to your Body Score gives you an overall Thrive Score.
Starkey doesn’t stop there. Coming soon will be an integrated heart rate monitor in some models of the Livio AI.
And the Livio AI will talk and sync these details to your smartphone when you connect up. There’s no need to be constantly connected.
This we think will be a big, attractive feature of the Livio AI. Built into the Livio AI hearing device is the ability to detect when the wearer has had a fall. If a fall is detected the Thrive app on the connected smartphone will commence a countdown to the sending of a notification to three contacts pre-selected by the wearer.
The wearer will have up to 90 seconds to stop this notification being sent in case of a false positive. The wearer can also manually send a notification if need be allowing the wearer to use the Thrive app as a medical notification system if desired.
This can provide much-needed comfort and security, not only to the wearer but to family and loved ones knowing they will be notified and can action that notification if something happens.
Starkey states that fall detection is 92% accurate, which is better or on par with devices created specifically for fall detection. However, Starkey is also quick to point out that the Livio AI is not a Regulated Medical Device. It is not a replacement for emergency services. It is a general wellness product and should be used as such.
Anyone remember the Babel Fish from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books? Essentially you stuck this fish in your ear and it would translate any language directly. Quite neat really. Well the Livio AI does the exact same thing. Yes, you need to be connected to your smartphone but the Livio AI can translate and stream the translation to your hearing aids in real time.
If you love to travel this could be a real asset. The Thrive app works in both directions as well. What you say will be translated and transcribed on screen allowing the person you are conversing with to see the translation as well. Currently the device is able to translate 27 different languages in-ear and on screen. We expect the supported languages to grow over time.
Using the same voice recognition technology as the translation feature, the Thrive app allows you to transcribe voice to text using your smartphone. You can use that as a kind of Closed Caption system for the person you are speaking to… or just as a tool to help get messages and writing down faster.
Ask the Thrive Assistant anything about your Livio devices and it will answer you and provide help or information as required. You can extend the “assistant” functionally by signing up to an Amazon account. Once you have done this your devices essentially become an Amazon Alexa enabled personal assistant.
The Livio AI is the next in a line of devices that bring RemoteCare, or telehealth, to their devices. RemoteCare allows you to request updates or adjustments to your hearing aids from your audiologist. They can then make those adjustments remotely without you having to travel to the clinic.
The great thing is you can be anywhere in the world and you can still get the adjustments as long as you have an Internet connection. So while in Paris, using the Language Translation feature, your audiologist in Australia can ensure your devices are tuned to perfection. This should let you hear the gravel crunch under your feet as you play pétanque.
If you do happen to lose your hearing aids while traipsing down the cobbled streets in the City of Light, the Thrive app on your smartphone can help you find them again by using the Find My hearing Aids feature. With both a location and a time stamp the built-in signal detector can detect how close you are to locating your Livio AI hearing aids.
Simply tap your ear to start or stop audio streaming. You don’t even need to touch your hearing aid. The sensors inside the device pick up the taps on your ear to activate the pause function on Starkey accessories like the TV Streamer or Remote Microphone +.
If you want you can choose a rechargeable Livio AI model. The Livio uses built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery technology. This is currently the best and most reliable rechargeable battery technology and is the same you will find in your smartphone.
A fully charged Livio will get you through a full 24 hour day and with the new optional Turbo Charger, you can give your hearing aids another 3.5 hours of listening time in just seven minutes.
There’s a long list of great features right there and we haven’t spoken about the primary use of the Livio hearing aids… the use as a hearing aid.
Starkey says that the Livio is the best sounding hearing aid they have ever made. We are not going to argue with that. You would hope that every new generation of hearing device brings with it improvements, somehow, in their primary purpose: that of giving you the best hearing possible.
One great feature that Starkey has added is the ability for you to personalise your hearing settings. Based on the programs already on the device, you can create multiple custom “memories” — essentially tweaks to an existing program that you think suits the environment you are in better.
The great thing about these custom memories is that you can assign a geotagged location to them. So the minute you walk into your favourite café, the Livio will switch to your “Coffee Shop” memory given you the sound you want for that location.
The Livio AI comes in four different models including a RIC (Receiver in Canal), RIC Rechargeable, micro RIC, and BTE (Behind the Ear).
NOTE: Due to the smaller size of the micro RIC you will lose the NFMI antenna. Therefore it does not have the following features: Spatial Speech Enhancement, E2E phone streaming with landline calls or a CROS transmitter.
If you are interested to see if the Livio AI are right for your hearing loss, contact Clarity today.Contact us today!
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