Starkey announced that its Thrive Hearing Control app now includes Mask Mode, a new custom memory that boosts the frequency response in certain channels to help patients better hear people who are wearing face masks. This new feature is available on select Livio technology levels. It is in addition to Starkey’s Edge Mode technology, available only in Livio Edge AI devices, which has proven to be highly effective in resolving speech intelligibility challenges created by face masks, according to the company.
“Staying safe by wearing a mask and maintaining the ability to hear should not be mutually exclusive,” said Starkey President and CEO Brandon Sawalich. “Starkey is a hearing healthcare company that strives to improve the overall health and wellness of the people we serve. The COVID-19 pandemic has given new meaning and urgency to that effort. We will continue to look for solutions to the challenges this crisis has created for the hearing impaired until it is behind us. We’re in this together.”
Released in February 2020, Starkey’s Livio Edge AI hearing aids use artificial intelligence to optimize for speech understanding. With a double tap, Edge Mode conducts an AI-based analysis of the acoustic environment and makes immediate adjustments. When a wearer is communicating with someone wearing a face mask, Edge Mode accounts for the impact of mask type, social distance, and background noise to the acoustic signal and “delivers greatly enhanced speech audibility and clarity.”
“Navigating both COVID-19 and hearing loss has been difficult, to say the least,” said Starkey Chief Innovation Officer Dave Fabry, PhD. “Masks muffle speech and inhibit lip-reading cues and facial expressions. We are proud to be leading the way in addressing these face mask challenges head-on, from Mask Mode for hearing aids to the world’s first and only 2.4 GHz custom rechargeables, which won’t fall out when you remove a mask from behind your ears.”
The new Mask Mode feature for select Livio hearing aids is an additional custom memory within the Thrive Hearing Control app. A user can choose Mask Mode when they find themselves speaking to someone wearing a face mask. For more information, click here.