- Published on 23 January 2020
Offering professionals a first glimpse of its soon-to-be launched Livio Edge AI hearing aid, Starkey held its own business and tech show this month in Las Vegas. The key words, of course, were "artificial intelligence" (AI) and "healthable".
Starkey once again chose America's most ostentatious city for its biennial welcoming of its family of professionals, and once again the hearing giant had something that would flash and shine amongst the brightest lights. And it had the gab too, of course.
Steering its hearing aid product over recent years towards the automated and self-learning sphere of AI, the Minnesota-based firm recently had its Livio device included in TIME magazine's list of the best 100 inventions of 2019. A tough act to follow! But at its 2020 Starkey Hearing Innovation Expo, the belle of the ball was a premium tech update on Livio AI—for an expected February US launch—called Livio Edge AI. It includes an adaptive tuning feature called Edge Mode that delivers, says Starkey, "unprecedented performance in the most challenging listening environments". And it does so "instantaneously".
As ever, the shepherd of this gathering was Starkey founder and CEO, Bill Austin, who told his faithful: “We are in the midst of a seismic shift in the hearing industry.”
Although this is the kind of stirring stuff any good speaker and leader is expected to deliver—and the Las Vegas show presented voices of renowned motivational dimensions, including Sir Richard Branson, General Colin Powell, and actor Matthew McConaughey—no one in the audiology business at this moment would disagree that the game is changing perhaps as never before. Starkey's role in this shift was underlined by Austin: “While the hearing industry has undergone a number of changes since I first began working with hearing aids more than fifty years ago, they’re insignificant compared to the monumental transformation we are experiencing at Starkey today. When it comes to revolutionizing the hearing aid, we are just getting started.”
The firm's President, Brandon Sawalich, praised the "visionary" move by Austin to combine hearing aids with AI, suggesting a never-ending story is now unfolding: “While we can only imagine what Livio AI will look like ten years from now, the innovative work we’re doing today is already defining the future. The possible ways in which this will improve people’s lives are endless.”
Just how far AI has come with Starkey, and where it is likely to go, was discussed by Starkey's CTO, Achin Bhowmik, in this interview, published in our sister magazine, Audio Infos UK, in December 2019.