Technology is developing into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. In general, the trend is that devices have more features and take up less space.
So it’s no surprise that hearing aids are no different. Though hearing issues have a variety of causes, hearing problems are more prevalent among older people, and the world’s population is aging. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians report having trouble hearing, and since age is a stronger 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 minimize hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Advancements 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 kinds of health tracking are almost always worn and 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 in addition to helping correct for hearing difficulties such as tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Certainly, a wearable like an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can provide you with other types of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. How much social involvement you get can actually be an important health metric, especially as you get older.
Connectivity is the important 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, such as a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth compatible. Android developers now have open-source specs provided by Google which lets them use certain Bluetooth channels to stream continuous audio directly to your hearing aid. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids work almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy music, movies, and more.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid might make personalized recommendations much like how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness goals or how Netflix recommends your next movie in line with your viewing trend. The places you go 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 information about people’s usage 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 able to use this information to recognize what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the best audio experience.
Finally Losing The Batteries
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 a hearing aid that doesn’t use any batteries at all might seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology keeps improving. You’ll get quicker charging time, extended use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.