The year 2018 has come and gone.
It was a year in which the Eagles won the Super Bowl, the highest-grossing movie was Black Panther, and we argued over whether we heard “Yanni,” or “Laurel.”
It was also a year in which the world of technology continued to advance.
Hearing aids were no exception, as many of the world’s top hearing aid manufacturers released new models.
Here we will review some of the notable new releases of 2018 and some things to look forward to in 2019.
A flurry of activity took place in the second half of the year. Hearing aid giants Starkey, ReSound, Signia, Oticon, and Phonak all launched new products.
In August, hearing aid manufacturer Starkey released a device called the Livio AI. The “AI” stands for “artificial intelligence” and incorporates integrated sensors that allow the device to not only improve hearing but to also track fitness (like a built-in Fit Bit), translate languages, and detect falls.
Incorporating these technologies into a hearing aid is a trend that other companies will be sure to imitate.
In the latter part of September, ReSound launched their new Quattro hearing aids. These devices were the first hearing aids to have both a lithium-ion battery (yielding over 30 hours of use on a single charge) and smartphone connectivity.
The Quattro can stream audio directly from Apple devices and will soon be able to stream directly from Android devices as well. Additionally, it has the widest dynamic range of any current hearing aid and is essentially waterproof.
The lithium-ion battery is so good that it is sure to be the standard for all hearing aids moving forward.
Signia (formerly known as Siemens) also released a new line of hearing aids in 2018. Headlining the new Signia devices was the new Styletto. It was marketed as a stylish device that did not look like traditional hearing aids. Its slim design was certainly eye-catching.
However, it proved to be more style than substance, as it lacked Bluetooth capability, had fixed receivers that could not be changed easily, and a disappointing rechargeable battery system.
Oticon released a new entry-level device called the Siya. Operating on the same platform as the popular OPN products, the Siya provides a Bluetooth capable device for those on a tight budget.
Finally, at the tail end of the year, Phonak released its latest hearing aid line: the Marvel. Marvel hearing aids tout lithium-ion rechargeability and true Bluetooth streaming. Unlike most hearing aids that connect to smartphones using proprietary wireless connections, the Marvel can connect to any device that is Bluetooth capable.
Looking forward to the future, affordability is a hot topic. In 2018, the average price of a pair of hearing aids in the United States was $4600. However, starting in 2019, more insurances will be helping to cover the cost of hearing aids (at least in part). Less expensive over-the-counter hearing aid options will start to be available in 2020 or 2021.
Our clinic, Hearing and Balance Doctors, is the only locally owned private practice in the region that is staffed entirely by doctors of audiology, who are dedicated to staying current with all the latest technology.
Our doctors can help select appropriate devices and create a custom hearing treatment plan. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation. Our doctors, along with our caring staff, look forward to meeting with you.