It seems like all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and more compact. Taking up less space while having more functionality is the overall trend.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not a surprise. The world’s population is getting older and hearing issues, though they can have many different causes, are more common amongst older individuals. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians report having trouble hearing, and because age is a better predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably increase.
Naturally, if you’re dealing with hearing loss, even one individual with trouble hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the innovations that are happening.
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” innovations. Health and fitness trackers have 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. If you have the latest hearing aid, it probably can track your pulse, physical activity along with fixing hearing issues such as tinnitus. Hearing aids can also track things that other wearables normally don’t, like the time spent conversing. Particularly as you age your level of social involvement can actually be an important health metric.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the important watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Audio from a device, like a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth compatible. Android developers now have open-source specifications supplied by Google which allows them to use certain Bluetooth channels to stream uninterrupted audio straight to your hearing aid. This technology is making things like music and movies more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
In a similar way to how Netflix recommends shows and movies according to what you’ve watched previously, or your Fitbit alerts you to tell you that 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 might make personalized suggestions. 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 utilization 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 capable of using this information to know what your situation is and make adjustments to provide you with the best audio experience.
Finally Losing The Batteries
Ya, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t require batteries? It can be very inconvenient making certain you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While we’re not likely to get hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a consistent advancement in rechargeable technology. That means longer time in use, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, all in all, not too bad.