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This week Minnesota produced more than just news about some epic winter storms.
MN-based Starkey Labs released a brand new line of hearing aids with a new form factor, app, underlying technology, and event audiologist interface.
Starkey is the only major U.S.-based hearing aid manufacturer. They famously fit Ronald Reagan with a hearing aid during his presidency and have long been considered the leader in custom-mold and invisible products.
Starkey made some big moves in the hearing health space a handful of years ago. They started by hiring a top engineer from Intel and began experimenting with AI processing in their devices. Soon they added fitness tracking, fall detection, and even a language translation feature (it kind of works).
Starkey remains the leader in custom-molded devices with the smallest Bluetooth-enabled device on the market, but they are now also seen as one of the most feature-rich hearing aids on the market.
Maybe even too many features for some people’s taste. 🤷♂️
Starkey Genesis AI Review - Everything We Know So Far
The New News - Starkey Genesis AI
Hearing aid brands often launch new products with smaller innovations to their chips or add a couple. Sometimes the hearing aid body looks identical, and the app stays mostly the same.
Genesis AI appears to be a home-makeover-style transformation.
Before we dig into what changed, here’s what stays the same:
- Starkey Genesis AI still comes with disposable and rechargeable batteries (now with longer life).
- Starkey Genesis AI is; still Bluetooth enabled for iPhone and Android devices with hands-free calling for iPhone. You will need to keep your phone close if you use an Android to pick up your voice. No changes here.
- Starkey Genesis AI will keep some important underlying technology, including the deep neural network that manages background noise and the incredibly popular edge mode. The deep neural network is now more powerful with the capability to make 80M adjustments per hour (mostly imperceptible of course).
Ok, let’s talk about the significant changes. There are lots of them.
We’ll start with the new form factor and battery system.
The Genesis AI hearing aids have a completely new design compared to their predecessors, including both receiver and canal and custom models. The receiver in canal version has a smoother exterior that I prefer to the ridges and corners in previous generations. Genesis should also be smaller than previous generations due to the smaller components throughout. Overall, the exterior updates seem like a win.
Another major hardware update in Genesis is the battery life. Here are the highlights:
Genesis now boasts the longest-lasting rechargeable battery on the market, with up to 51 hours on a single charge. The smaller Genesis mini RIC cuts down on battery size and still maintains 41 hours. Most people are fine with 20 hours, but this extra battery life could mean a weekend camping trip without a charge. That’s new.
Starkey’s larger in-the-ear devices are also available in rechargeable styles. Their in-the-ear style hearing boasts an impressive 36 hours as well.
At the moment, Starkey just took the lead in the battery department.
Let’s take a look under the hood.
Starkey updated the chip inside their new hearing aids and made some big improvements to speed and capacity.
The Genesis AI hearing aids feature the smallest and fastest processor that Starkey has ever made, with 6X more transistors than past models. This processor is critical to handling the AI inside Starkey devices. Starkey’s new Edge Mode+ cleans up audio in real-time with more advanced compression to reduce listening effort.
The powerful processor also enabled even more intelligent features within health tracking and the Starkey personal assistant.
If Tony Stark were picking a hearing aid, it seems like he would probably pick this one (and not just for the name).
Let’s talk about apps.
Starkey has sometimes been criticized for overly complex app controls. It appears they are starting fresh with a brand new Starkey App that puts the most-used features front and center. The new app will also have new abilities to update hearing aid firmware and some helpful how-to videos. All welcome changes in my book.
That’s what we know so far.
I’ll report back once I have reviewed the product for myself. On its face, this is an impressive and ambitious launch for Starkey. If you are a Starkey wearer, the new Genesis line will give you some smart upgrades. If you are new to hearing aids and looking for something with lots of smarts, Starkey should be on your shortlist.