It seems like all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and more compact. Taking up less space while doing more is the general trend.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not a surprise. Though hearing problems have many different causes, hearing difficulties are more prevalent among older individuals, and the world’s population is aging. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians describe having difficulty hearing, and since age is a better predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably increase.
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Better ways to decrease hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Advancements are happening, here are some.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This is so intuitive, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” developments. Health and fitness trackers have to be worn on the body. So, if you’ve already got 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 such as tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Certainly, a wearable such as an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can provide you with other types of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. Especially as you age your level of social engagement can actually be an important health metric.
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have quickly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the main focus here is connectivity. Some hearing aids that have 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 standards for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to provide uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This type of technology is helping hearing aids work 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 individualized recommendations similar to how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness objectives or how Netflix suggests your next movie in line with your viewing trend. The places you visit and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by several brands, to learn your habits. Some take it one step further, crowdsourcing data 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 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 certain 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 advancement in rechargeable technology. That means longer in-use time, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too bad.