It seems like all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and more compact. Taking up less space while having more functionality is the general trend.
So it’s not surprising that hearing aids are no exception. Though hearing problems have a variety of causes, hearing issues are more prevalent among older individuals, and the world’s population is aging. About 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe some level of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is rising because age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Naturally, if you’re dealing with hearing loss, even one person with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to deal with hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the innovations that are happening.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This is so obvious, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” developments. Health and fitness trackers 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? Nope! If you have a newer hearing aid, it can most likely track your pulse, physical activity along with correcting hearing problems such as tinnitus. Hearing aids can also monitor things that other wearables normally don’t, like the time spent conversing. Especially as you get older, your level of social involvement can actually be a key health metric.
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have smoothly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the main focus here is connectivity. Audio from a device, such as a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth capable. Google released open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to provide uninterrupted audio directly to hearing aids. This technology is making things like music and movies more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid could make individualized recommendations much like how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness objectives or how Netflix suggests your next movie based on your viewing trend. The places you visit and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being developed by several brands, to learn your behaviors. Some take it one step further, crowdsourcing information on how individuals use their hearing aids anonymizing and then aggregating the data. 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 most enjoyable audio experience.
Finally Losing The Batteries
We know, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? It can be really inconvenient making sure you have extra 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 advancement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get faster charging time, extended use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.