Hearing aids have come a long way over the years, but now they’re becoming even more technologically advanced.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there were some incredibly interesting new developments on display. From models enhanced with artificial intelligence, to those that were battery-free, there were many things that piqued our interest.
AI Enhanced Automation
When we talk about hearing aids that utilize artificial intelligence, we’re not talking about putting a robot in your ear. Well, not exactly anyway.
What we are talking about is Oticon’s new add-on feature, Kaizn, which won two CES Innovation awards. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to change the settings on your hearing aid automatically. How it responds to different environments is based on both your personal preferences as well as past activities.
How Kaizn Works
In a press release last November, Oticon described the feature by comparing it to Spotify’s recommended songs feature.
“Just as Spotify recommends new songs based on a user’s past listening behavior, 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 optimized listening experience,” the release explains.
Other New Developments
Oticon wasn’t the only company to have new technologies on display. Cochlear showed off their new “forward focus” feature that helps people with implants better focus on people speaking to them.
Hearing aid manufacturer Widex also garnered a lot of attention with their new battery-free model. If they can get FDA approval, they could have these on the market as early as this summer.
“Most hearing aids today use batteries or battery chargers,” explained Widex USA president Jeff Geigel. “Our new hearing aid will require neither.”
Instead, their new hearing aids are powered by miniature fuel cells. Where rechargeable hearing aid batteries can take around 6 hours to fully recharge, the mini fuel cell takes 20 seconds.