May is known as the month of hearing and Starkey® Hearing Technologies, the company that developed the world’s first artificial intelligence embedded hearing device is encouraging people to be aware of their hearing health. Ranked third behind arthritis and hypertension for adults aged 75 and older, hearing loss is one of the most common age-related disabilities today. Additionally, hearing loss is becoming more common in younger generations as well.
People with hearing loss immensely benefit from early identification; use of hearing aids, cochlear implants and other assistive devices; captioning and sign language; and other forms of educational and social support.
Giscard Bechara, Director, Starkey MEA FZCO stated that, “Close to 16 million people in the Middle East suffer from disabling hearing loss. This condition may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise, and ageing. At Starkey we believe that hearing health is essential to overall health and wellness. Unfortunately, unlike any other health condition hearing disabilities are left untreated till the person loses his complete sense of hearing in most cases”.
As per the World health Organisation (WHO), around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, and 34 million of these are children. Also, upto 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes. Another upcoming challenge is that, 1.1 billion young people (aged between 12–35 years) are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to noise in recreational settings. It is estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss.
In March this year, Starkey® Hearing Technologies launched the world’s first hearing aid that utilizes ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘integrated sensors’ in UAE. This is the world’s first Healthable™ that tracks physical activity and cognitive health as measured by hearing aid use in social situations. Livio AI also features the first-ever fall detection and alert capability and translates 27 languages instantly including Arabic.
“Artificial intelligence, coupled with advanced sensing devices, is rapidly changing the world around us, we have invested millions in the research and development with regard to these hearing devices. Interventions to prevent, identify and address hearing loss can bring great benefit to individuals. We are here to support them and generate the right level of awareness so that they lead a more fulfilling and happier lifestyle,” added Giscard.
Livio AI hearing aids use AI and machine-learning technology and directional microphones to identify a wearer’s listening environment and then adjust based on the detected environment’s acoustics. Hearing aids can hold numerous benefits for those with hearing loss, but according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) nearly 80 percent of people with hearing loss don’t seek treatment.
“During better hearing and speech month, we are focusing on raising awareness about hearing loss and the benefits hearing aids can provide. Additionally, hearing loss is becoming more common on younger generations as well. With that in mind, we are encouraging people to follow us throughout the year to learn more about hearing loss and hearing technologies,” added Giscard.
“These new devices seek to put to rest the stigma of hearing aids as last-resort medical devices and introduce them as powerful wearables for the tech-savvy crowd. These devices have superior sound quality, listening clarity, more natural hearing and effortless transitions. From home, to the store, to a crowded restaurant. These new hearing aids preserve peace and quiet while amplifying the important things like speech to help you better understand conversations in any environment,” added Giscard.
50 years ago, USA based Starkey Hearing Technologies started with a mission and a vision: ‘So the world may hear’. The company focused its research to make the journey to ‘better hearing’ achievable for all people around the world.
“We will also be participating at the ‘AccessAbilities Expo’ that takes place in UAE in November this year, which is the region's dedicated event, that aims to bring the world's latest assistive technology products with the goal of enhancing lives of more than 50 million people in the region having disabilities. We will be present at the event to guide people with hearing challenges to connect back with their families and lead a better healthier life,” concluded Giscard.