Technology is developing into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. Being smaller while having more functionality is the overall trend.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not surprising. Though hearing problems have a variety of causes, hearing difficulties are more prevalent among older individuals, and the world’s population is getting older. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians report having trouble hearing, and since age is a better predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number is likely to increase.
If you’re dealing with hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Better ways to alleviate hearing loss? Let’s have them! Innovations are happening, here are some.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems like it should be obvious. Devices that provide different kinds of health tracking are nearly always worn and need to be worn close to the body. So, if you’ve already got a device that’s in your ear… do you really need a separate one on your wrist? 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 keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Certainly, a wearable such as 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 having conversations or listening. Especially as you age your level of social engagement can actually be a key health metric.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have smoothly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the primary focus here is connectivity. Some hearing aids that provide Bluetooth capabilities now let users stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for example, to the hearing aids. Android developers now have open-source specs provided by Google which lets them use specific Bluetooth channels to stream uninterrupted audio straight to your hearing aid. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids function almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy music, movies, and more.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid may make individualized suggestions similar to how a Fitbit informs you of fitness goals or how Netflix recommends your next movie in line with your viewing trend. The places you visit and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by several companies, to learn your behaviors. Some go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s usage habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this information allows the hearing aids to determine your preferences and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re watching TV at home or you’re at an IMAX theater (for example), you’ll get the best possible sound.
Finally Losing The Batteries
Hearing aids that don’t need their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? It can be really inconvenient making certain 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 continuous improvement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get quicker charging time, extended use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.