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How Your Hearing Aid Could Monitor Your Blood Pressure in The Future

Wellness is most definitely the new black, more and more consumers whether young or old are becoming dedicated to healthy living. Consumers are placing more value on health and wellness than on material goods. Older adults, in particular, are now focused on experiences rather than worldly goods. But to have those experiences, to undertake that travel, they need and value their health. Valencell announced the introduction of the world’s first calibration-free blood pressure (BP) sensor system for integration in hearables and wearables at CES 2020. Last year, Valencell launched biometric sensors that monitored vital signs and activity for hearing aids. The BP sensor system is a further extension of its strategy to offer comprehensive health monitoring in ear-level devices. So what could it mean moving forward and why is it so attractive?

Valencell ear level blood pressure sensor

Integrated Health Monitoring

The inclusion of biometric sensors at ear-level was a massive step forward, and it offered possibilities for hearing aid manufacturers to widen the use case for their devices. These new features are attractive for a large host of consumers. While biometric sensors and the new BP sensor can help with early identification and management of many of the conditions that traditionally affect hearing aid users. They are also a very attractive use case for the so-called healthy fit. The features are attractive to both groups of people for differing reasons.

Health Monitoring

Many older hearing aid users suffer from other co-morbidities such as heart issues, high blood pressure and other problems. Continuous vital signs monitoring and BP monitoring can be used to assess the user’s condition continually. It can give the user and their family 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 wider health monitoring functionality from the one device that they wear all day, every day. It would mean health tracking with one connected device allowing them to monitor key stats that matter to them.

I said last year that combined with the new breed of personal assistant AI that hearing aid brands such as Resound, Starkey and Oticon are delivering, the possibilities of sensor-enabled devices are truly endless. Imagination is the only limit to what they can do. 

Validated Efficacy

The technology has demonstrated BP cuff-like accuracy through rigorous testing on thousands of patients and tens of thousands of datasets. The technology can recognize hypertension with 89% accuracy, which is more accurate than comparable technologies available today and provides BP readings within +/-8mmHg for qualified datasets. In addition, the sensor system requires no calibration of any kind, meaning no BP cuff is ever needed to use this technology.

In the fall of 2019, Valencell conducted a clinical research study to validate the accuracy of the BP sensor system adhering to the ISO 81060-2(2018) standard for noninvasive BP cuffs. The results of that study have been accepted to be presented at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session in March 2020 in a session titled: “Biometric Audio Earbuds Produce Cuff-Like Accuracy in Monitoring Blood Pressure”.

As this technology matures and becomes available in more and more hearing aids, it will mean that your hearing aids will be at the centre of your health care. The readings from your device will allow continual monitoring of your wider vital signs including your blood pressure.

Like us on Facebook by clicking the button below to keep up with our latest utterances. Alternatively, if you don't like Facebook, sign up to the newsletter below. It is important to remember,  a hearing aid isn't properly fitted unless they do Real Ear Measurement. You can read the full press release from Phonak below.

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Geoffrey Cooling

Geoffrey Cooling

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Geoffrey (Geoff, anything else makes him nervous) Cooling is an Irish hearing aid blogger and has been involved with the hearing aid industry since 2007. He has worked in private practice dispensing hearing aids and as a manufacturer's rep. He has written two books and they are both available on Amazon. He loves technology, passing on knowledge and is legendary for many other things, primarily the amount he curses, his dry and mischievous sense of humour and his complete intolerance of people who are full of themselves. Please feel free to connect with him.

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