It seems like all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and smaller. Being smaller while having more functionality is the general trend.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not surprising. Though hearing problems have a number of causes, hearing problems are more prevalent among older individuals, and the world’s population is aging. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians describe having difficulty hearing, and since age is a stronger 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. Are there any better ways to manage hearing loss? Let’s have them! Here are some of the innovations that are in the works.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems like it should be obvious. Health and fitness trackers have 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! Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which in addition to helping correct for hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Sure, a wearable such as an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can offer you other types of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend having conversations or listening. How much social engagement you get can actually be a vital health metric, especially as you get older.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the important watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. Audio from a device, such as a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth capable. Google published open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use certain channels within Bluetooth to provide uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This technology is making things like music and movies more satisfying by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid might make individualized recommendations similar to how a Fitbit informs you of fitness goals or how Netflix recommends your next movie in line with 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 individuals use their hearing aids anonymizing and then mixing the data. All this information enables the hearing aids to ascertain your tendencies and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re at home watching TV or you’re at an IMAX theater (for instance), you’ll get the best possible sound.
Eliminating The Batteries Once And For All
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 with you, or even taking time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While we’re not likely to get hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a consistent improvement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get faster charging time, longer use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.