Hearing & Balance Doctors

Hearing Aids: 2019 Year in Review

Hearing Aids: 2019 Year in Review

Another year has passed as 2019 is now in the rear-view mirror.

It was a year in which we were captivated by James Holzhauer’s massive winning streak on Jeopardy!, Popeye’s chicken sandwich, and baby Yoda.

It was also another year in which the hearing aid industry continued to advance. Notable advancements in 2019 included lower cost of advanced hearing aids, increased use of artificial intelligence, and better integration of smartphones and hearing aids.

#1 – Lower cost of advanced hearing aids

In the previous year, 2018, multiple hearing aid companies launched new groundbreaking technologies.

In 2019, we saw some of those new technologies become available at lower price points. For example, in 2018, hearing aid giant ReSound launched the groundbreaking Quattro line of hearing aids.

The Quattro allowed for direct audio streaming with iPhones in conjunction with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. However, the Quattro was exclusively a high-end hearing aid with a high-end price tag.

In 2019, a less expensive Quattro model was unveiled that still had iPhone connectivity and a rechargeable battery but at a lower cost.

Additionally, in 2019, more insurance companies began offering discounted pricing on hearing aids and full or partial hearing aid coverage.

#2 – Increased use of artificial intelligence

Several hearing aid companies are continuing to use artificial intelligence in their hearing aids.

The US-based company Starkey pioneered this technology with their Livio line of hearing aids.

These hearing aids incorporate integrated sensors that allow the devices to track fitness, translate languages, and detect falls.

Another hearing aid company, Widex, launched a line of hearing aids called Evoke.

The Evoke uses a smartphone app that asks for the user’s feedback in various environments. It is able to determine the user’s hearing preferences in these environments and learns to adapt automatically.

Artificial intelligence in hearing aids is a trend that will certainly continue into the future.

#4 – Better integration of smartphones

For several years now, hearing aids have been able to work with smartphones.

Apps have allowed for a smartphone to become a remote control for hearing aids.

Wireless streaming of audio to iPhones has allowed listeners to hear phone calls, music, and podcasts directly through their hearing aids.

However, this audio streaming was limited only to iPhone users. In 2019, the hearing aid company Phonak launched a hearing aid called the Marvel that allowed for audio streaming from all Bluetooth phones, not just iPhones.

The ReSound Quattro also became compatible with Google smartphones and early in 2020 will allow for audio streaming from Samsung smartphones.

The Future of Hearing Healthcare

In 2021, we look forward to further advancements in the hearing aid industry. Our clinic, Hearing & Balance Doctors, is a locally-owned private practice dedicated to staying current with all the latest technology.

We are staffed by doctors of audiology that can help select appropriate devices and create a custom hearing treatment plan for a variety of budgets. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation at (435) 688-8991. Or find us on the web at hearingdoctors.net

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Dr. Ryan Whitaker

Dr. Whitaker joined Hearing & Balance Doctors of Utah in 2009. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brigham Young University in 2005 with his Bachelors of Science in Audiology and Speech Pathology. He then received his Doctor of Audiology from the University of Arizona where he minored in Cognitive Neuroscience (the study of how people perceive sound). While at the University of Arizona, he specialized in evoked potentials, specifically researching Cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials and the Acoustic Change Complex. He gained clinical experience at Tucson Ear, Nose, and Throat; St. Joseph’s Hospital Balance Center; Arizona Hearing Specialists; and the Center for Hearing Impaired Children. Dr. Whitaker was raised in Orem, Utah with three older sisters and a younger brother (who is also an audiologist). His grandfather was a cartoonist for the Walt Disney Studios where he drew Donald Duck and many characters in Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland before starting the BYU Motion Picture Studio. Dr. Whitaker is married and has three sons. He is passionate about college football and also enjoys hiking in Southern Utah, reading, and traveling. He has traveled extensively through South Asia including Thailand, India, Nepal, and a church mission to the Philippines.

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