With the introduction of the Apple Watch and later AirPods, Apple broke new ground on integrating sensors and vital health tracking tools into wearable technology. The company’s health ambitions were cemented with the Apple Watch Series 4, which introduced fall detection and a sensor to let you take ECGs on the go. Other companies are also exploring the intersection of wearable technology and wellness. Starkey has been an early leader in what they refer to as the “healthables” market. At CES 2019, the company previewed new updates to its line of intelligent hearing aids.
Starkey first introduced the Livio AI hearing aid this past August, an iPhone-connected hearing aid with a companion iOS application, AirPods-style tap gestures, and a host of intelligent sensors for health tracking. Previous Starkey models like the Halo line were early options in the MFi hearing aid space. Livio AI uses the Thrive Hearing app to report physical activity data and integrates with Apple’s Health app in addition to MFi certification. This includes support for the iOS Live Listen feature.
For 2019, Starkey is expanding Livio AI with fall detection and alerts, heart rate measurement, and the Thrive virtual assistant. These additions turn the hearing aid into less of an accessory and more of a self-contained platform for wellness. For customers who don’t already own an Apple Watch and depend on hearing assistance, Livio AI might be the most compelling option.
The Thrive virtual assistant is built on the intelligence of Google Assistant and can be activated by double tapping the hearing aid. The user hears the assistant’s voice privately at a level tuned for the individual’s level of hearing loss. Microphones in the hearing aid enable voice-to-text transcription and translation in 27 languages. Livio AI will also be the first hearing aid to feature Amazon Alexa connectivity.
With Livio AI, Starkey wants to reduce the stigma around hearing aids. Last year, we took a look at the future of connected wearables like AirPods and MFi hearing aids to preview where the industry may be headed. Livio AI looks to be the next step.
Livio AI is currently available in the United States and Canada and will expand to more than 20 countries in early 2019. Existing customers will be able to take advantage of fall detection, heart rate measurement, and the Thrive assistant in an update coming this spring.
You can keep up with all of the latest product announcements from Las Vegas in our CES 2019 Guide.