Technology is evolving into stronger, smarter, 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. The world’s population is aging and hearing problems, though they can have a number of causes, are more common amongst older individuals. Around 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians describe some level of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is increasing since age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Naturally, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one person with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Better ways to alleviate hearing loss? Let’s have them! Here are some of the advancements that are in the works.
Whole-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Devices that offer different kinds of health tracking are almost always worn and need to be worn close to the body. So do you really need a device on your wrist if you already have one in your ear? Nope! Or at least, you don’t with some of the newest hearing aids, which in addition to helping fix hearing difficulties such as tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Certainly, a wearable like an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can provide you with other kinds of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. Particularly as you age your level of social involvement can actually be an important health metric.
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have quickly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the primary focus here is connectivity. Audio from a device, like a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth capable. Google released open-source specifications for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to provide uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids work almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy movies, music, and more.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid might make individualized suggestions much like how a Fitbit informs you of fitness objectives or how Netflix suggests your next movie based on your viewing trend. 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 go as far as to crowdsource information about people’s usage habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. 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 give you the best audio experience.
Getting Rid of The Batteries Once And For All
We know, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? It can be really inconvenient making sure you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are fully charged. While we’re not likely to get hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a continuous advancement in rechargeable technology. That means longer in-use time, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too bad.