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Kenya: Starkey Hearing Technologies using artificial intelligence to help the deaf from poor background access hearing aid

Author: Faustine Ngila, Business Daily (Kenya), Published on: 1 July 2019

"Multipurpose hearing device targets the poor"

The deaf in Kenya can now hope for better hearing capabilities, thanks to the launch of a new hearing aid multipurpose device that uses the dynamics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to impact lives. Starkey Hearing Technologies, an American global leader in conceptualising and manufacturing advanced hearing solutions, will now make deaf people from poor backgrounds in Kenya the first Africans to enjoy the innovation. Speaking during the launch at Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, the firm’s founder Mr William Austin said human beings need to show empathy to their fellow men and women who are incapacitated health wise. “The greatest philanthropist is not Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. It is that ordinary person who comes to the aid of other human beings without expecting anything in return,” he said.

The firm launched Livio AI, a device that uses integrated sensors and AI to redefine solutions to hearing problems. It will be available for sale in Nairobi but the company said monies from such sales will be used to equip financially constrained people with the device for free...But the groundbreaking innovation will come later, by 2021, when the company will launch an interface that gives common people their own voices on devices that will embed emotions in what people say. This will also put an end to the debate on why most AI devices use a female voice. “Every human being has the right to be all they want to be in life regardless of their health conditions. For this reason we are designing a new microchip that will be 100 times more powerful than the current one to ease transcription of low and high speech rates.” Starkey Foundation supports the hearing impaired around the world with its global outreach programme where it has helped more than one million people to hear.

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