The multi-purpose hearing device is a focus for the leading players in the hearing instrument industry.
BIHIMA interviews Paul Lamb from Starkey.
In BIHIMA’s latest interview for its technology series in audiology magazine Audio Infos, we interviewed Paul Lamb, Technical Director at Starkey, about how hearing technology can help wearers of hearing instruments monitor and maintain their health as well as deliver a high-quality listening experience.
“First and foremost, we are an industry trying to improve people’s ability to hear better. We know the value of great sound quality for our patients and additional health monitoring features can never be at the expense of the core technology. The benefits of being able to hear well for overall health and wellbeing are well proven and should always be considered first.”
Paul Lamb outlines 4 recent developments in hearing technology:
1. Tracking of daily activity in terms of physical activity.
- People can see how many steps they’ve done and miles they’ve walked, very much like a Fitbit or an Apple watch would do but, on their ear, not their wrist.
2. Tracking of hearing instrument use.
- A hearing instrument wearer can measure how much they’ve used their instrument through the day, and whether they’ve worn it in difficult places as well as easier places – this tracking and monitoring stimulates the brain which can help reduce risk of developing dementia. The user can also track their social activity.
3. A fall detection system on board hearing instruments.
- The sensors have been trained, using AI, to know if the person has fallen over and can trigger, through their phone, an alert to the wearer’s relatives and give them a precise location of where the person is. The system can verify with the user whether they’ve had the fall or not before a message is sent to a third party. If a person is feeling unwell, whether they’ve fallen or not, they can press the button manually and it will send an alert to relatives.
4. Reminding people of their medication routine.
- Hearing instruments can be programmed to remind people to take their medication, for example, mine remind me at 10pm to take my blood pressure tablets! They can remind people to drink more water, to walk around more to increase their circulation. You input the reminder manually so the wearer can set the reminder to be anything they need.
The new technology available means patients are now more inquisitive about hearing instruments as they are multi-purpose. As well as monitoring health, they can link to a person’s phone or Alexa, and they can translate languages and stream audio. Having this technology can mean the difference between calling a loved one on the phone and not really hearing them and calling them and being able to hear what a loved one is saying.
This technology interview series is a regular feature in Audio Infos Magazine and can be found online at Audiology World News. BIHIMA interviews one of its members in each issue of the magazine on a pressing technology topic effecting the hearing instrument industry today.