TECH BYTE: Hearing Aids Used For More Than Hearing

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Hearing aids aren’t just for hearing anymore.

Some of them act like a Fitbit, but for your ears!

“They can be so comfortable to wear that you totally forget they’re there,” said Audiologist Dr. Ken Parker, Audiology Services of Chattanooga.

The Livio AI takes hearing aids to a whole new level.

Hearing Instrument Specialist Cheryl Ward says it can do more than just help you hear better.

“You can track your steps for a health benefit, so there are even health benefits with the hearing aids,” Ward said. “It can calculate your brain score. And I when say brain score, I mean your communication with others.”

All you need is your audiologist to help you pair the Livio up with your iPhone or iPad.

Dr. Parker says it helps someone who’s hearing impaired, have more of a normal life.

“It can stream sound from the television, so that an individual, for example, can watch a football game with absolutely no sound coming out of the TV,” Parker said. “Everybody else is not bombarded by the sound of the television, and that individual is hearing it right in his or her ears.”

It’s also convenient if the patient is by themselves, and gets hurt in a fall.

“They pick three people, three contacts, be a family member, friend, neighbor, that when we program their hearing aids, we program those contacts in, and help them connect those to their phone, so if they fall, in just a few seconds, if they’re not able to mash the hearing aid to say they’re OK, it will send out a call to their contacts,” Ward said.

These hearing aids can also work as a remote control, with settings you can customize, depending where you are.

“Say they frequent a restaurant every weekend, and have brunch or something, and it’ll be a noisy place,” Ward said. “They can go in and customize that place, and make it sound really well, save it, and it can geotrack, so next weekend when you go to that brunch place, it will say, ‘You’re here.’ Tap on it, and it will automatically sync in so they don’t have to go back all through those volumes and those sounds again to get it just right.”

Ward says even if you don’t have your phone nearby, the hearing aids alone will still work.

They’re also water resistant, and can last about 24 hours before needing to be charged.

This is just the beginning. As technology continues to improve, audiologists say it’s important for hearing aids to do the same.

“Whatever some engineer can dream up, they can make happen someday,” Parker said. “The technology is going to improve for sure.”

Right now the Livio AI only works with an iPhone, but you should be able to pair it with an Android later this fall.

Obviously cool technology like this can get expensive.

Just check with your audiologist about what financing is available.

Categories: Local News, Tech Byte, Technology

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