It seems like all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and more compact. In general, the trend is that devices have more features and take up less space.
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 among older people. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians describe having trouble hearing, and since age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number is likely to go up.
Of course, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one person with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to deal with hearing impairment? Let’s have them! Innovations are happening, here are some.
Whole-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems as if 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! If you have the latest hearing aid, it probably can keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with fixing hearing problems such as tinnitus. Hearing aids also have the ability to monitor things that other wearables usually don’t, like the time spent conversing. Particularly as you age your level of social engagement can actually be an important health metric.
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, like a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth compatible. Android developers now have open-source specs provided by Google which lets them use certain Bluetooth channels to stream uninterrupted audio straight to your hearing aid. This type of technology is helping hearing aids work almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy movies, music, and more.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid might make personalized recommendations much like how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness goals or how Netflix recommends your next movie based on your viewing trend. The places you go and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by a few brands, to learn your habits. Some go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s utilization habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this info 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 sound.
Finally Losing The Batteries
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 see hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a continuous advancement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get faster charging time, longer use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.