Life can be difficult for the hard of hearing. In some cases, technology can make hearing easier. Hearing aids are not new technology, of course. But hearing aids that integrate AI technology to improve speech recognition and filter out background noise are, and the Orka One is leading the way.
So, how does this CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree shape up?
Orka One AI-Powered Hearing Aids
The Orka One is "the world's first hearing aid powered by proprietary AI DeNoise technology."
The AI tech can identify excess background noise and filter it out automatically, creating a much cleaner assistive audio experience for its users. The AI DeNoise runs a powerful AI neural network on a minute chip that fits into the Orka One hearing aid's main case.
When up and running, the AI DeNoise algorithm not only reduces background noise but can also enhance human voices. Orka One also features Bluetooth 5.0, allowing you to fine-tune and customize your hearing profile. But better still, the hearing aid integrates with your phone calls and smart assistant, allowing users to hear incoming calls, requests, and commands much easier.
Orka One is completely rechargeable. The hearing aid units themselves have a 10-hour battery life with AI DeNoise enabled. The charging carry case holds another 32 hours of battery charge, meaning you shouldn't run out of battery all day.
However, the 10-hour battery life of the hearing aid isn't ideal if you're working and unable to reach your charging case in time. Alternatively, you may have to switch out the hearing aid one ear at a time to charge. Again, this isn't entirely useful, but the Orka One hearing aid also features fast charging, picking up five hours of battery life with a 30-minute charge.
The Orka One hearing aid is also rated IPX5, which is water-resistant to a point, but you shouldn't submerge your hearing aid in water or otherwise.
AI Hearing Aids Are the Hear to Help
Artificial intelligence is pushing many areas of technology forwards. The world of hearing aids is no different, with AI tech improving the lives of thousands of people who suffer from reduced hearing.
In the US alone, 38 million citizens over the age of 12 suffer from some form of hearing loss, according to the Johns Hopkins Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health. A device such as the Orka One could drastically help reduce that number.
However, the Orka One wasn't the only AI-powered hearing aid featuring at CES 2021, as you can see in the above link. Oticon is also launching a hearing aid with an integrated neural network, providing those suffering from hearing loss with another AI hearing aid option.
So while Orka is the first hearing aid to use AI DeNoise, it isn't the first AI-powered hearing aid to hit the market.