Starkey recently released a new hearing aid that is a combination between hearing aid and health tracker. Due to overwhelming demand, I've finally gotten around to reviewing the Livio Ai Hearing Aid. The Livio line of hearing aids replaces the previous line of Starkey Halo devices. There are two separate devices, the Livio, and the Livio Ai. The Livio comes in 3 performance levels. The Livio 2400, Livio 2000, and Livio 1600. The Livio Ai only comes in the Premium 2400 level.So what are the biggest improvements of the Livio & Livio Ai devices over the Halo devices?
1. They now have access to wireless accessories. This is a huge improvement over the Halo devices. With 2.4 GHz and NFMI, you can now gain access to a remote microphone and TV streamer while still being able to stream directly from a smartphone (iPhone only).
2. Better Noise Management. The use of NFMI allows these devices to communicate with each other, which improves performance in background noise. Starkey claims up to 50% better noise reduction in a dynamic noise environment.
3. Better App Customization. With a new 4 band equalizer, you can adjust Low, Mid, High, and Ultra-High amplification.
The Livio Ai hearing aids also have some additional features that the Livio devices don't.
1. On-Board Sensors - Inertial Measurement Units (aka IMUs) cacn track movement. This allows the hearing aids to track Body and Brain activity. The intent is to keep you more Physically active and Socially engaged by tracking your movement and communication. Since activity and socialization are important to reducing the risk of a variety of co-morbidities such as Cardiovascular disease, Stroke, Diabetes, and Dementia, the more move and socialize, the lower your risk of these diseases. The Body Score tracks Steps, Physical Activity, and Movement for a total score of 100. The Brain Score tracks Time wearing devices, Engagement with other people, and Active listening in different environments for a total score of 100. In total, there are 200 Thrive points that you can use to gauge your activity and socialization.
2. Hearing Care Anywhere - Now you can have adjustments made to your devices without going to see your hearing care provider. You just need to submit a request and wait for the changes.
3. Translation - This is the coolest hearing aid feature in these devices. The app can translate speech from a variety of different languages. It will then send this to your hearing aids so you can hear speech in whatever language you prefer. 4. Fall detection - Since these devices have on-board sensors, you can track falls. Since individuals with hearing loss also tend to fall more, why wouldn't you want to track this. Eventually it could provide more information on how to prevent falls in the future. Not sure how helpful this information would be, but I'm interested to see where Starkey goes with this. Even with all these great additional features, even the Livio Ai hearing aids need Real Ear Measurement to perform at their optimal level. If you want to learn more about REM, watch my video here: https://youtu.be/cHR0Oa6I-wY
Overall, the Livio Ai devices are impressive, but there are a few things I'm not a fan of.
1. Streaming quality - The audio quality of iPhone streaming is poor. No matter what adjustments I made to the software, I couldn't get anything to sound good.
2. Not Rechargeable - Starkey has lithium battery technology, however they didn't put it into these hearing aids. I understand there is concern about battery life due to constant streaming demands, but the trend is to go more rechargeable over time, not less.
3. Price - The Livio Ai is the single most expensive hearing aid to purchase from any hearing aid manufacturer. This means that it will likely be the most expensive hearing aid that you can buy. It raises the question: how important are the Livio Ai features to you?
Negatives aside, the Starkey Livio Ai hearing aids are an impressive piece of technology. So if you are the type of individual who is really tech savvy or into health tracking, you may want to ask about the Starkey Livio Ai hearing aids the next time you see your hearing care provider.