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 different. The world’s population is getting older and hearing issues, though they can have many different causes, are more common amongst older people. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians report having trouble hearing, and since age is a better predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably increase.
Of course, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one individual with trouble hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing loss? Let’s have them! Innovations are happening, here are a few.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Entire Body
This one seems like it should be obvious. Devices that offer 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 such as tinnitus. Certainly, a wearable such as an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can provide you with other kinds of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend having conversations or listening. Especially as you get older, your level of social engagement can actually be a key health metric.
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have quickly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the principal emphasis here is connectivity. 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. Android developers now have open-source specs provided by Google which lets them use certain Bluetooth channels to stream uninterrupted audio directly to your hearing aid. This technology is making things like movies and music more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid might make individualized suggestions much like how a Fitbit alerts you to 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 go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s usage habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this info enables the hearing aids to ascertain your preferences and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re at home watching TV or you’re in an IMAX theater (for example), you’ll get the best possible sound.
Getting Rid of The Batteries Once And For All
We know, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? It can be very inconvenient making certain you have spare 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 consistent advancement in rechargeable technology. That means longer time in use, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, all in all, not too shabby.