Technology is developing into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. Generally speaking, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not surprising. Though hearing issues have a variety of causes, hearing difficulties are more prevalent among older people, and the world’s population is getting older. About 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe some amount of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is going up since age is the strongest demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Of course, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one person with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing impairment? Let’s have them! Innovations are happening, here are some.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Entire Body
This one seems like it should be obvious. Devices that offer different types of health tracking are nearly always worn and need to be worn close to the body. So, if you already have a device that’s in your ear… do you actually need another one on your wrist? The answer is no. 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 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. Especially as you age your level of social involvement can actually be an important health metric.
Connectivity is the major watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. Audio from a device, like a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth capable. Android developers now have open-source specifications supplied by Google which lets them use specific Bluetooth channels to stream continuous audio straight to your hearing aid. This technology is making things like music and movies more satisfying by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
In a similar way to how Netflix suggests shows and movies according to what you’ve previously watched, or your Fitbit alerts you to tell you that you’ve reached a milestone (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how committed your everyday step goals are), your next hearing aid might make personalized recommendations. The places you visit and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by several brands, to learn your habits. Some go as far as to crowdsource information about people’s usage habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this info allows the hearing aids to figure out your preferences and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re watching TV at home or you’re in 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 replaced? Sound too good to be true? It can be very inconvenient making sure you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are fully charged. While we’re not likely to see hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a constant advancement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get faster charging time, extended use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.