Technology is evolving into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. Generally speaking, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
So it’s not surprising that hearing aids are no different. Though hearing problems have a variety of causes, hearing difficulties are more prevalent among older people, and the world’s population is aging. Around 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe some amount of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is increasing since age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
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 advancements that are in the works.
Whole-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 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 newest hearing aids, which along with helping correct for 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 offer you other kinds of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. How much social involvement you get can actually be an important health metric, particularly as you get older.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the primary 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 movies and music more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid might make individualized recommendations much like how a Fitbit informs you of fitness objectives or how Netflix suggests 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 go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s usage habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. So whether you’re watching TV at home, or in an IMAX theater, your hearing aids will be able to use this information to identify what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the best audio experience.
Eliminating The Batteries For Good
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries changed? Sound too good to be true? After all, making sure you’ve got spare batteries on hand, or even making time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. That means longer in-use time, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, all in all, not too shabby.