It seems like all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and smaller. Taking up less space while having more functionality is the general trend.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not surprising. The world’s population is getting older and hearing problems, though they can have many different causes, are more common amongst older individuals. 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 strongest demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Of course, if you’re dealing with 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 impairment? Let’s have them! Advancements are happening, here are some.
Whole-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems like it should be obvious. Devices that provide different types 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? Nope! If you have the latest hearing aid, it can most likely keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with correcting hearing issues like tinnitus. Hearing aids also have the ability to monitor things that other wearables usually don’t, like the duration of conversations. How much social involvement you get can actually be an essential health metric, especially as you age.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have quickly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the main emphasis 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 compatible. Google released open-source specifications for Android developers that show them how to use certain 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 suggestions much like how a Fitbit informs you of fitness objectives or how Netflix recommends 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 take it one step further, crowdsourcing information on how people use their hearing aids anonymizing and then mixing the data. All this info enables the hearing aids to ascertain your tendencies and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re watching TV at home or you’re at an IMAX theater (for example), you’ll get the best possible sound.
Finally Losing The Batteries
Hearing aids that don’t need their batteries changed? Sound too good to be true? It can be very inconvenient making certain you have extra batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. You’ll get faster charging time, longer use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.