Technology is developing into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. Taking up less space while having more functionality is the general trend.
So it’s not surprising that hearing aids are no different. Though hearing problems have a variety of causes, hearing issues are more prevalent among older people, and the world’s population is getting older. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians describe having difficulty hearing, and because age is a better predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number is likely to go up.
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 reduce hearing loss? Let’s have them! Here are some of the innovations that are in the works.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Entire Body
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Health and fitness trackers need to be worn on the body. So do you really need a device on your wrist if you already have one in your ear? The answer is no. Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which along with helping correct for hearing difficulties like 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 give you other kinds of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. How much social engagement you get can actually be an important health metric, especially as you age.
Connectivity is the important watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. Some hearing aids that offer Bluetooth capabilities now allow users to stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for example, to the hearing aids. Google released open-source specifications for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This technology is making things like music and movies more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid might make individualized suggestions much like how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness objectives or how Netflix recommends your next movie in line with 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 push it even further, crowdsourcing data on how individuals use their hearing aids anonymizing and then mixing the data. All this information enables the hearing aids to figure out your tendencies and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re at home watching TV or you’re at an IMAX theater (for instance), you’ll get the best possible sound.
Getting Rid of The Batteries Once And For All
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries changed? Sound too good to be true? It can be very inconvenient making certain you have extra batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While a hearing aid that doesn’t use any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. That means longer in-use time, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too bad.