The new Eargo 6 shown in Vegas at CES 2022 can mask background noise and “noise between pauses in speech.” Eargo announced that it is using a new proprietary algorithm for Sound Adjust that can identify the user environment without input from the users. This is an improvement over Eargo 5’s Sound Match feature which required at least 8-10 minutes of user input so as to build a user profile that can identify the environment and then help the user adjust the sound. Eargo 6 includes a “Mask Mode” where a user can press the button to identify that the speaker is wearing a Mask, and the Eargo App automatically adjusts the volume when the user taps that feature on the phone App. The Eargo 6 retails for $2,950 and is rated IPX7 for water resistance. This means they can be submerged for 30 minutes at a depth of one meter without water damage. Though Eargo 6 may be water-resistant, it may not be advisable to wear Eargo 6 in the pool because they are very small and will probably easily get lost while swimming.
The technology in hearing aids continues to develop, enabling them to offer their wearers additional functions beyond sound amplification. Hearing aids maker Widex has upgraded its MOMENT family of hearing aids to offer streaming music, calls, and other content from Android smartphones (Android Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA). (This should not be mistaken for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.) In an unrelated development, Apple Inc. is exploring possibilities to add health-related functions such as enhancing hearing, reading body temperature, and monitoring posture to its AirPods. Unfortunately, ill-meaning people could use the technology for evil ends, including haunting the wearers. Unrelated to Android and Apple, we ourselves had a scary experience: We were wearing our hearing aids and they were working fine when they started saying “Check Partner”, but when we checked both of the hearing aids they were in place just fine. Then we started hearing a couple of voicemails loud enough for us to understand.
Since 2020, Apple included Headphone Accommodations in the new iOS releases; the sound picked up by these microphones is amplified with both frequency-dependency gain and compression, giving App AirPods Pro hearing aid-like capability.
If you are rich enough or lucky enough to have a top-rated brand of hearing aids such as Oticon, ReSound, Starkey, or Widex you can control them using a smartwatch. You can control them–as well as the Hearlink range of Philips and Zerena range of Bernafon—using a smartwatch. You can also control a range of other brands using Starkey’s TruLink Hearing Control using the iPhone and iPad, as well as some Pebble smartwatches, three Android Wear watches, the Samsung Gear S Moto 360, and Asus Zen Watch.