Widex has traditionally been seen as one of the most innovative hearing aid brands. They have proven it again and again with introductions of groundbreaking hearing aid features and strategies. They were the very first to introduce true binaural compression (a strategy to process sound as a true pair of hearing aids. The strategy ensures that normal sound cues are retained as much as possible to give a very natural sense of hearing.) with the Clear range and many of the brands didn't really catch up for years. With the introduction of the Evoke range, they were the first hearing aid brand to introduce machine learning as a feature. Recently other brands have announced they are introducing it, but Widex is still the only brand with an active system. When they introduced the Evoke, they promised that the system would be used to make that hearing aid better. Well, they are fulfilling that promise with a new upgrade, let's talk about what they are up to.
A working AI solution
As I said, while other brands are talking about introducing it, right now, Widex is the only company to offer an AI solution that allows users to improve their hearing aid sound in the moment based on their own listening intentions. The Evoke Fusion 2 was the first hearing aid to use Machine Learning, which is a form of AI (Artificial Intelligence), to deliver a personalised sound by allowing users to create their personal listening programs in real time via SoundSense Learn.
Widex receives the anonymized input from every user of SoundSense Learn, collects it in the cloud, and then analyse it to create better sound for other users. They have used the data captured from their users to introduce a new system which will allow an even better and more personalised sound. The data collected has allowed them to make the AI system 25% faster, benefitting both existing and new users.
While the new interface allows the user to optimise the sound to personal preferences faster, it will also show them how quickly it’s finding the best personal sound experience. The new interface is designed to engage and encourage users. I spoke to one of the senior guys working on the system and he said that the data is giving them lots of valuable insights, one of the most striking things is that users are creating very unique listening situations for themselves. He said that they can see that they are very different across the range of users.
That's invaluable data, because it shows that no two users are the same, it also proves that the system is hugely valuable to users, because there is no way that we could traditionally fine tune for that. The new upgraded Evoke app will allow Widex to collect further insights, they are now asking the wearer to share their listening intention. Again, that is invaluable information because the intent can and will differ from person to person.
It is another piece of the puzzle that will allow clearer insights, insights that Widex will use to make their hearing aids better. Machine learning and Artificial intelligence will dramatically increase the efficacy of hearing aids in ways that we can only imagine, Widex has set us sail on that journey and I for one am excited to see where we end up.
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