Hearing aid technology improves every year. Performance increases, comfort improves, battery life gets better, and associated technology such as BlueTooth, internet connectivity, and integrated phone apps keep you connected. Let’s take a look at some of the latest innovations that have got people talking:
OticonOpn™ Internet Connected Hearing Aid
Every year, CES takes over Vegas in early January in celebration of the latest innovations in consumer technology. This year, the star of the show was “elderly tech.” Though gadgets and tech are historically thought of as the domain of youth, elderly tech is aimed at making life safer and more connected for the growing senior population. Innovations that had some buzz this year include a smart cane that notifies the caregiver in case of a fall, and a robot buddy that provides companionship to combat senior isolation.
Hearing aid manufacturers have long been at the forefront of elderly tech innovations, and this year is no different. The OticonOpn™ hearing aid won two awards at the CES Innovation Awards, including:
- Tech for a Better World – Products that impact the world in a positive way
- Wearable Technologies - Smart products that can be worn or implanted in the body
What makesOpn hearing aid different? It’s the first hearing aid to connect to the internet via the IFTTT (If this, then that) network. Essentially, this protocol allows the wearer to use their hearing aids as a sort of remote control for other devices. Turning your hearing aids on and off can achieve the following functions:
- Turn lights on and off
- Control home alarm system
- Control smart thermostat
- Notify low battery
- Notify when laundry is finished
- Notify if someone is at the door
This Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity is in addition to the functionality included with the Oticon ON app, which allows the wearer to adjust volume, change listening programs, or locate lost hearing aids.
The connectivity is a great perk, but what about the actual performance of the hearing device? Oticon claims:
- 30% better speech understanding
- 20% less listening effort
- 20% more recall of what was said
No wonder the OticonOpn is making waves.
SigniaCellion™ and myHearing App
Signia is also making big leaps forward in 2017. Cellion is the world’s first lithium-ion inductive rechargeable hearing aid. It provides up to 24 hours of continuous use on a single charge. Cellion is built on Signia’s advanced primax technology platform, features BlueTooth connectivity, and can be adjusted from your smartphone without the need for an intermediary device.
In an increasingly eco-conscious world, a rechargeable hearing aid is an innovation worthy of celebration. Cellion picked up two separate CES awards:
- Eco-Design and Sustainable Technologies
- Accessible Tech
Signia was also celebrated for its myHearing app, which brings together hearing aid patients and audiologists and other hearing care professionals. Patients can ask questions, training, and learn more about ear health. Audiologists, meanwhile, can monitor the progress of their patients and remotely adjust hearing aid settings if needed. Expect to see more hearing air brands enter the field of mobile health (mHealth). myHearing was honoured in the Software and Mobile Apps product category.
If these two examples are any sample of what’s to come this year, expect 2017 to be a banner year for hearing aid technology.