Technology is evolving into smarter, more powerful, and smaller devices. Generally speaking, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
So it’s no surprise that hearing aids are no exception. Though hearing issues have a number of causes, hearing problems are more prevalent amongst older individuals, and the world’s population is getting older. Around 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians report some amount of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is rising because age is the strongest demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
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 deal with hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Advancements are happening, here are some.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
This is so intuitive, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” developments. Devices that provide different kinds of health tracking are nearly always worn and have to be worn close to the body. So, if you already have a device that’s in your ear… do you actually need a separate one on your wrist? Nope! If you have the latest hearing aid, it probably can keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with improving hearing issues like tinnitus. Hearing aids can also track things that other wearables usually don’t, like the time spent conversing. How much social engagement you get can actually be an important health metric, especially as you age.
Connectivity is the primary watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. Some hearing aids that offer Bluetooth capabilities now let users stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for instance, to the hearing aids. Google published open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use specific 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 music, movies, and more.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid could make personalized recommendations much like how a Fitbit informs you of 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 a few brands, to learn your habits. Some take it one step further, crowdsourcing data on how individuals use their hearing aids anonymizing and then mixing the data. All this info enables 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.
Eliminating The Batteries For Good
We know, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? After all, making sure you’ve got spare batteries on hand, or even making time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be a pain in the, um, ear. While we’re not likely to get hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a constant improvement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get quicker charging time, longer use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.