Opens Up Opportunites for Hearing Aids as Integrated Health Devices
Valencell (produces the most accurate wearable biometric sensor systems in the world) and Sonion (a global leader in micro acoustics and micromechanics for hearing health and other ear-level devices) demonstrated the first ever hearing aid Receiver in Canal with an embedded biometric sensor at CES in Vegas. The breakthrough opens up vast opportunities for hearing aids to become integrated health monitoring devices. They say “BiometRIC receiver in canal is optimized for size and will measure heart rate, R-R interval, activity levels, energy expenditure, and will provide a platform for future innovations in hearing health devices. ” The biometric sensors offer comprehensive bio information and placing the sensor in the receiver (speaker) in the canal gives it perfect access to the best place to track that info. Let’s talk about what it offers, and what it might mean.
Key Vital Signs Measurement
The BiometRIC measures critical vital signs and activity levels, the company says that the data will help address the documented hearing loss comorbidities, such as cognitive impairment, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, arthritis, and cancer. BiometRIC measures continuous motion-tolerant (impacts or motion does not affect readings) heart rate and motion-tolerant R-R interval (the time between beats of the heart) and provides activity levels such as step count, total steps, and calorie burn.
That makes it an ideal sensor to meet the more comprehensive health monitoring needs of both the healthy fit and people with underlying conditions. While the functionality right now is impressive enough, they say that BiometRIC will provide a platform for the two companies to deliver future innovations in hearing aids, such as measuring blood pressure and blood oxygenation. They also said that the platform would enable hearing aid makers to add new functionality based on the inertial sensor data such as fall detection.
A Massive Step Forward
This truly is a massive step forward, and it offers possibilities for hearing aid manufacturers that were just pipe dreams up to recently. Biometric sensors can help with early identification and management of many of the conditions that traditionally affect hearing aid users. If a hearing aid user is also suffering from heart issues, continuous vital signs monitoring from the BiometRIC device can be used to assess the user’s condition. It can give the user an extra level of confidence that their health is being monitored and it can enable more effective disease management.
For the so-called healthy fit hearing aid users, it means more functionality from the one device that they wear during their waking time. For hearing aid brands, it offers another layer of data and brand new data points that they can innovate around. Combined with the new breed of personal assistant AI that we hearing aid brands such as Resound and Oticon are delivering, the possibilities are truly endless. Imagination is the only limit to what they can do.