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. The world’s population is getting older and hearing issues, though they can have a variety of causes, are more common among older individuals. About 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians report some level of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is going up because age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Naturally, if you’re dealing with hearing loss, even one person with trouble hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Better ways to minimize hearing loss? Let’s have them! Here are some of the advancements that are happening.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
This one seems like it should be obvious. Devices that provide different types of health tracking are nearly always worn and need 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! Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which along with helping fix hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Hearing aids also have the ability to monitor things that other wearables normally don’t, like the time spent conversing. How much social involvement you get can actually be a vital health metric, especially as you age.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the important watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have moved 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 example, to the hearing aids. Google published open-source specifications for Android developers that show them how to use certain channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio directly to hearing aids. This technology is making things like music and movies more satisfying by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid may make personalized recommendations much like how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness objectives or how Netflix suggests your next movie based on your viewing trend. Several manufacturers are working on hearing aids that will learn both from the adjustments you make and from listening to the places you go. Some go as far as to crowdsource data 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 capable of using this information to recognize what your situation is and make adjustments to give you 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 with you, 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. That means longer in-use time, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too bad.