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Your Healthy Family: The challenges of hearing loss and hearing aids

Posted at 5:07 AM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 07:07:01-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — In this Your Healthy Family, we're beginning a two-part story on hearing, and new hearing aid technology that is showing the potential to be a game changer in both performance and upfront costs.

For those who know hearing loss is far more than not hearing things well. Andrew Song, who is the founder and CEO of Whisper Ai says, “Once you watch somebody really experience hearing loss, you see how isolating it is, you see how loneliness starts to creep in and how someone is not able to participate and engage. That's the lens that I experienced hearing loss through when I saw my grandfather go through this process. His hearing loss crept in slowly and then he tried an existing traditional type of hearing aid and it didn't work very well for him because he would go to noisier situations and struggle. Unfortunately, that story about my grandfather is not unique to me - it's very common story for many people.”

Michael Iliff is an audiologist with Hearing Consultants in Colorado Springs and says when he helps his patients hear better he knows he is really boosting their quality of life. “I always like to say I'm not in the business of helping people hear, I am in the business of helping people with their relationships - that's why people come in. They don't come in to hear a bell or whistle they come in because their wife or husband has noticed that it's starting to have a strain on their relationship.”

The answer for most people is often hearing aids, that have certainly come a long way over the years, but can be expensive and in many settings can still be far from perfect when it comes to performance.

Andrew explains, “Hearing is not a solved problem - it's a very complex problem. We (at Whisper) think the technology that's been available to hearing aid products hasn't met the challenge, or stepped up to the plate yet.”

As hearing aids have progressed over the years, the challenge has been to make them as small and powerful as possible says Dr. Iliff. “If you can imagine a hearing aid, they're so small that you can't even see them when they're on the ear, however there's only so much processing power you can have in a tiny instrument.”

That’s another factor that led the team at Whisper Ai to develop hearing aids with an artificial intelligence component says Andrew. “We saw that we could put this product together, and we knew it would have a big impact.”

Dr Iliff, who himself suffers from hearing loss, and wears hearing aids says, “We've been talking about artificial intelligence for a while, and I think almost every tech industry talks about it but what does it really mean? Whisper is a very different concept.”

In our next story learn how the Whisper hearing system with artificial intelligence works and the new approach to making these state of the art hearing aids more affordable.

Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family