Technology is evolving into smarter, more powerful, and smaller devices. Taking up less space while having more functionality is the overall trend.
So it’s no surprise that hearing aids are no exception. Though hearing issues have a number of causes, hearing difficulties are more prevalent amongst older people, and the world’s population is getting older. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians describe having trouble hearing, and since age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably increase.
If you’re dealing with hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing loss? Let’s have them! Advancements are happening, here are a few.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
This is so obvious, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” developments. Health and fitness trackers have to be worn on the body. So, if you already have a device that’s in your ear… do you really need a separate one on your wrist? Nope! Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which in addition to helping fix hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Hearing aids also have the ability to track things that other wearables usually don’t, like the duration of conversations. How much social involvement you get can actually be an important health metric, particularly as you age.
Connectivity is the primary watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Audio from a device, such as a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth compatible. Google published open-source specifications for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio directly to hearing aids. This technology is making things like movies and music more satisfying by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Similar to how Netflix suggests shows and movies according to what you’ve watched previously, or your Fitbit buzzes to let you know you’ve reached a milestone (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how ambitious your everyday step goals are), your next hearing aid might make personalized suggestions. The places you go and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by a few companies, to learn your habits. Some take it one step further, crowdsourcing information on how individuals use their hearing aids anonymizing and then mixing the data. So whether you’re watching TV at home, or in an IMAX theater, your hearing aids will be able to use this information to recognize what your situation is and make adjustments to provide you with the most enjoyable audio experience.
Finally Ditching The Batteries
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? After all, making certain you’ve got spare batteries on hand, or even taking time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While we’re not likely to see hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a consistent improvement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get quicker charging time, extended use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.