Technology is developing into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. Being smaller while having more functionality is the general trend.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not a surprise. Though hearing problems have a variety of causes, hearing difficulties are more prevalent amongst older individuals, and the world’s population is getting older. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians report having difficulty hearing, and since age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably increase.
Naturally, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one person with trouble hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing loss? Let’s have them! Advancements are happening, here are some.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
This one seems like it should be obvious. 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? Nope! Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which in addition to helping correct for hearing difficulties such as tinnitus, will also keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Hearing aids can also track things that other wearables usually don’t, like the time spent conversing. Particularly as you age your level of social engagement can actually be a key health metric.
Connectivity is the primary watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have moved 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 compatible. Google released open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use certain channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids function almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy movies, music, and more.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Similar to how Netflix suggests shows and movies based on 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 ambitious your daily 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 developed by several brands, to learn your habits. Some go as far as to crowdsource data 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 recognize 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? After all, making sure you’ve got spare batteries on hand, or even making time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While a hearing aid that doesn’t use any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. You’ll get faster charging time, extended use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.