You might think of your favorite sci-fi movie when someone starts talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But today, AI is a reality that we all need to get accustomed to. When it comes to hearing aids, this is particularly true. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that simply increase the volume of sounds around you. Contemporary, high-end hearing aids use AI.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is a form of technology that makes use of complex algorithms to produce new results from inputs of data. In this way, AI algorithms take part in a type of learning, aptly called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t need to program every specific result because the algorithm does that on its own.
Depending on the extent of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make modifications depending on your behaviors and your requirements. This makes your hearing aid more successful at improving your hearing.
How can you hear better with AI?
Initially, this may seem a bit abstract. After all, hearing aids seem to have a pretty straightforward function. How can things be improved by adding AI to the mix? Well, imagine a recording studio with the soundboard full of buttons and knobs. (Maybe you’ve seen them in movies.) There’s a little tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Better quality of sound can be attained by altering these settings. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are changed automatically without needing you to do anything.
These smart devices use a rich neural network to emulate human brain responses. Without even being programmed to, these devices react to real-time situations because of this.
This is the same technology that allows streaming services to recommend movies according to your viewing history, though it most likely sounds like space-aged technology at first. Newer cars use this technology to help you drive more safely and your email provider utilizes it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. These devices become more expert at making appropriate choices the more you use them.
AI hearing aids – new innovations
Presently, hearing aids are incorporating multiple brand new improvements in AI to help you hear even better. Here are some of the best examples:
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everybody was masking up, which was good, but definitely made talking with a hearing aid more difficult. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping those with hearing aids hear better and stay safe at the same time.
- Edge mode: This is a user activated, AI assist mode. Essentially, when you have a hard time hearing, you can activate something called Edge Mode. This then triggers the AI algorithm and the algorithm will start working to make your hearing clearer.
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a variety of loud or echo-prone locations. A hearing aid can have a hard time with cross-talk, for instance. But with an AI filtering out non-essential information, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the individual across from you is saying, even in a crowded or noisy environment.
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you walk into has its own distinct acoustic properties. Your hearing aids can handle some of those properties, but others it doesn’t do so well with. You will hear better in almost any setting with AI technology making practical automatic adjustments.
Hearing aid manufacturers and scientists are constantly developing new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg.
How is AI employed in the discipline of audiology?
These days, AI has sort of become a bit of a buzzword. Depending on the application, AI does different things, which can in some cases lead to confusion. So in terms of the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
Making hearing aids even more helpful for patients is one of the first and most obvious things that researchers are working on. New technologies, such as machine learning and deep neural networks, are a big part of this research. But it’s not just hearing aids. In the future, AI might be able to help with diagnosing hearing loss or even helping patients avoid future hearing loss.
Patients will find AI in more and more of their devices as the technology becomes more dependable.
AI-assisted hearing aids and their benefits
In contrast to some other industries, AI is not being integrated into hearing aids just because it’s the popular new thing. These machine learning algorithms offer some considerable advantages to patients. Among those benefits are the following:
- You have more control over how you hear: You can turn on AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing devices. This means hearing aid wearers will have more control over the quality of sound they hear. And this often means hearing better more frequently.
- Social engagement: Studies have found that those who use AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful in terms of dealing with their social engagement. This is likely because the speech they hear is clearer in a wider variety of environments. But that doesn’t necessarily mean AI will make-or-break your social life. It probably just helps people better maintain the relationships they already have.
- Helping you listen to devices: Your hearing aid can get feedback from a wide variety of devices, like televisions, cell phones, speaker phones, and a myriad of other devices. Machine learning algorithms can help by filtering out this feedback, so all you hear is the sound you really want to hear.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: If you happen to fall while you’re wearing your hearing aids, your AI-assisted devices might be able to detect the significance and seriousness of your tumble. If there is a severe fall, these hearing aids can, in some cases, notify the Authorities. AI can also make your health data easier to understand, helping you know when you should be exercising more, eating better, or just drinking more water.
How does this affect patients?
These benefits often lead to real-world advantages for those who use these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you are having a conversation at a party. If you were using an older-style hearing aid, it would just crank the volume up. And sadly, background noise also gets boosted making it impossible to hear voices. With AI, the hearing aid can tune in to the noise around you and respond the way your brain would, dulling background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.
AI will create a location-by-location program to address the various types of sounds it detects. These programs help when you go back to a specific location or sound profile. Other hearing aids with AI are programmed with day-to-day sounds in order to better identify and amplify important sounds.
Some of the other practical benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- You will feel less frustrated because you will be able to hear better.
- Your brain will have a reduced cognitive burden.
- You will have improved quality of life.
In other words, it’ll be easier to follow along with your favorite shows, hang out with your favorite people, and take care of your favorite brain.
Reward vs. cost
There was a time when AI wasn’t available in the vast majority of hearing aids due to the costs involved. An algorithm is, in fact, an intricate math equation. However, partially because of the preponderance of the technology, prices for AI hearing aids are starting to go down.
This doesn’t mean that every hearing aid you want may have AI, or even that those hearing aids will automatically be less expensive in the near future. Clearly, patients will still need to make important decisions. But AI functions are becoming more readily available and common.
Finding out what option is best for you
Hearing aids with AI may be too much for somebody who lives by themselves and stays home a lot. To someone who is socially active and finds themselves in conditions with many competing sounds, however, it makes a big difference.
For somebody who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets exhausted easily in social scenarios, AI hearing aids would be really helpful. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less tired with AI hearing aids. AI technology can also send alerts to your phone when the doorbell rings, alert others that you have fallen, and track your steps. Hearing aids will keep improving as AI technology improves.
How can AI technology help you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.