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New tech to make hearing aids as popular as glasses for older Australians

Older Australians are ‘very comfortable’ with wearing glasses to adapt to vision loss, but new research has also shown that people are slow to use hearing aids. A new product aims to change this divide and restore hearing across the country.

<p>Why do older Australians adopt glasses more quickly than hearing aids? [Source: Starkey Australia]</p>

Why do older Australians adopt glasses more quickly than hearing aids? [Source: Starkey Australia]

Key points:

  • New research has shown that over 80 percent of older Australians who notice their eyesight declining are happy to wear glasses
  • Less than a quarter of survey respondents who notice their hearing decline will wear hearing aids and most will delay their adoption until their mid to late 60s
  • The latest findings have shown that ageing is considered a ‘negative experience’ for two out of three Australians aged over 50 and even more so for those suffering hearing loss

 

Starkey Australia debuted Genesis AI, a new hearing technology system, on January 15, which is intended to change how hearing aids are developed.

People experiencing listening difficulties can use the Genesis AI hearing aid, which includes advanced technology, sensors, machine learning and artificial intelligence to hear soft sounds and easily distinguish speech.

Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Engineering Achin Bhowmik said that Starkey spent countless hours with hearing care professionals and patients, researching and analysing every element of the ‘hearing journey.’

“We relentlessly pursued how to develop and bring the most advanced hearing technology to hearing healthcare professionals and patients in a simple and intuitive way,” he said.

“Our all-new, powerful processor was designed to work like the human brain, leveraging the neuroscience of the ear-brain connection and information processing to create better sound quality, pushing energy-efficient artificial intelligence to its limits, analysing and automatically optimising sound over 80 million times an hour.

Genesis AI’s improved performance levels are unlike anything else in the industry while doubling the battery life.”

Research commissioned by Starkey found that 83 percent of Australians 50 years and older were ‘very comfortable’ using glasses for poor eyesight, but were hesitant to adopt hearing aids for sensory difficulties.

 

However, survey respondents were also optimistic about the use of artificial intelligence and the future of assistive technology, which Dr Judy Grobstein, an education and training audiologist at Starkey Australia, referenced in her explanation.

“At a time when we are advancing with incredible innovations in hearing technology, it is interesting to see that three out of four Australians over 50 are unaware of the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline,” Dr Grobstein said.

“Encouragingly though, of those aware of the link, 25 percent are more likely to wear hearing aids. The latest hearing technology truly is a game changer for hearing health and ultimately improved health, wellness and a better quality of life.

In addition to hearing loss, Starkey devices are designed with multi-functionality in mind, with the ability to detect falls and send alerts.

Following a hip fracture in Australia, 11 percent of patients are discharged to residential care and up to six percent of cases result in death.

 

Starkey President and Chief Executive Officer Brandon Sawalich said the company was redefining the future of hearing health through ‘breakthrough’ improvements.

“[Genesis AI is] a new, unprecedented experience for both patient and hearing aid wearers and hearing healthcare professionals,” he said.

“Our significant breakthroughs in hearing health innovation offer infinite benefits to patients and hearing care professionals alike but most importantly empower all those experiencing hearing loss.”

The arrival of Genesis AI in Australia during January of 2024 could significantly change the lives of the one in six Australians who experience hearing loss — a number that is expected to double from an estimated 3.6 million people in December of 2023 to 7.8 million by 2060.

Results from a hearing test had previously revealed that, at the time of testing in 2018 – ‘19, more than four in 10 — or 43 percent of — Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, seven years or older, had hearing loss in one or both ears.

 

Want to know more about how to protect your hearing in later life and how to find support? Check out the guide to protecting your hearing and managing ear damage.

Let the team at Talking Aged Care know your thoughts on Genesis AI and subscribe to the newsletter for more insight, information and industry updates.

 

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