It seems as if all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and more compact. In general, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not surprising. Though hearing problems have many different causes, hearing difficulties are more prevalent among older people, and the world’s population is aging. Around 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians report some level of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is rising as age is the strongest demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
If you’re dealing with hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing impairment? Let’s have them! Advancements are happening, here are a few.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems like it should be obvious. Health and fitness trackers need to be worn on the body. So, if you’ve already got a device that’s in your ear… do you actually need a separate one on your wrist? The answer is no. Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which in addition to helping fix hearing difficulties such as tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Hearing aids can also monitor things that other wearables usually don’t, like the duration of conversations. How much social engagement you get can actually be a vital health metric, especially as you age.
Connectivity is the major watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Some hearing aids that offer Bluetooth capabilities now allow users to stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for instance, to the hearing aids. Android developers now have open-source specifications supplied by Google which allows them to use certain Bluetooth channels to stream continuous audio straight to your hearing aid. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids work almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy music, movies, and more.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Similar to how Netflix recommends shows and movies based on what you’ve watched previously, or your Fitbit buzzes to let you know you’ve reached a goal (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how committed your daily step goals are), your next hearing aid could make personalized recommendations. Several manufacturers are working on hearing aids that will learn both from the adjustments you make and from listening to the places you go. Some take it one step further, crowdsourcing data on how people use their hearing aids anonymizing and then aggregating the data. So whether you’re watching TV at home, or in an IMAX theater, your hearing aids will be capable of using this information to know what your situation is and make adjustments to provide you with the most enjoyable audio experience.
Eliminating The Batteries For Good
Hearing aids that don’t need their batteries changed? Sound too good to be true? It can be really inconvenient making sure you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While we’re not likely to see hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a constant improvement in rechargeable technology. That means longer time in use, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, all in all, not too shabby.