Starkey announced that its leaders recently participated in the annual Reimagine Aging Conference, hosted by Senior Community Services, a nonprofit organization that aims to meet the changing needs of older adults and their caregivers. The focus of this year’s event was how emerging technologies are key to combating the loneliness epidemic facing many older adults today. Chief Health Officer Archelle Georgiou, MD and Chief Innovation Officer Dave Fabry, PhD, both presented on the topic.
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“Loneliness is a perception of being alone and feeling as if there is no one to turn to,” said Georgiou. “This perception is so toxic, not only mentally, but biologically and physically to the human body. As a result, loneliness increases the risk for conditions such as depression, dementia, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and even potentially cancer.”
One of the most significant risk factors for loneliness is hearing loss. Statistics show that people 65 and older are five times more likely to have hearing loss than those younger than 65. Fortunately, through the use of hearing aids, it is something that can be addressed.
“For the past several years, Starkey has been on a mission to reinvent the hearing aid and redefine hearing loss by connecting it to these other important health conditions,” said Fabry. “Livio AI was the hearing industry’s first device that employed embedded sensors directly in the hearing instruments, in combination with machine learning and artificial intelligence, to enable hearing aid users to track physical activity by counting how many steps they’re taking every day. In addition, they can track important social engagement factors, like whether they’re talking with other individuals and wearing them in different listening situations, for example. This social engagement factor is a key component in encouraging people to be more active and socially engaged with their lives.”
Starkey’s technologies also support caregivers, by creating technology to give them peace of mind. The recently released Thrive Care App helps allow Livio Edge AI hearing aid wearers to share information, like physical activity, hearing aid usage, and social engagement, with selected people. It helps provide “peace of mind to family and friends, while helping the hearing aid user maintain confidence and independence.”
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