Digital hearing systems specialist Starkey Hearing Technologies has brought artificial intelligence to a hearing aid called Livio AI, which uses integrated sensors to record cognitive health and physical activity, including alters triggered by a fall.

The hearing aid, which features a multi-core twin compressor and dual radio system, became available in Australia this week along with the Thrive Hearing Control mobile application.

The company claims the AI platform enables it to optimise the hearing experience by taming noisy environments and reducing listening effort on the hard of hearing.

The Livio AI also enables wireless streaming of phone calls and music, as well as enhanced clarity of speech, while the app measures the brain benefits of wearing hearing aids by tracking the user's hours of daily use, social engagement and active listening.

Activity, steps and overall movement is also tracked daily and accessed via the app, and thanks to a sensor integrated into the hearing aid receiver, Livio AI hearing aid wearers will soon be able to view heart rate information on Thrive.

The wearer can also create what Starkey multiple custom reminders in the app with geotagging capabilities, which use GPS and cell towers to recognize where they are and automatically adjust the hearing aids when they enter a favorite coffee shop or museum.

“First and foremost, Livio AI is the best performing and best sounding hearing aid we have ever made," Dawn Rollings, managing director of Starkey Australia, said in a statement. “What makes today a pivotal moment is that with Livio AI, we have transformed a single-use device into the world’s first multi-purpose hearing aid, with integrated sensors and artificial intelligence.”

She called Livio AI, which also comes with optional wireless accessories like a remote microphone that features connectivity to Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant, as a “gateway to better health, wellness and ultimately, a better quality of life.”

While hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults, an April survey conducted across ten countries--specifically designed to study the habits of people with hearing loss—found three quarters of respondents were embarrassed about their affliction.

One of the more alarming statistics from the survey, commissioned by the International Campaign for Better Hearing, was the revelation that nearly a fifth of Australian and New Zealand respondents took more than five years to seek help.

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