It seems as if all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and smaller. Being smaller while doing more is the overall trend.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not a surprise. The world’s population is getting older and hearing issues, though they can have many different causes, are more common among older individuals. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians describe having trouble hearing, and because 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 deal with hearing impairment? Let’s have them! Advancements are happening, here are some.
Whole-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Devices that provide different types of health tracking are nearly always worn and need 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 a newer hearing aid, it can most likely track your pulse, physical activity along with improving hearing issues such as tinnitus. Sure, a wearable like an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can give 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 involvement you get can actually be a vital health metric, especially as you get older.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have quickly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the primary focus here is connectivity. Some hearing aids that offer Bluetooth capabilities now let users stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for example, to the hearing aids. Android developers now have open-source specifications supplied by Google which allows them to use specific Bluetooth channels to stream continuous audio straight to your hearing aid. This technology is making things like movies and music more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Similar to how Netflix recommends shows and movies according to what you’ve previously watched, or your Fitbit alerts you to tell you that you’ve reached a goal (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how ambitious your everyday step goals are), your next hearing aid could make personalized recommendations. The places you visit and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being developed by several brands, to learn your behaviors. Some go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s usage habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this info allows the hearing aids to figure out your preferences and make adjustments on the fly so that whether you’re at home watching TV or you’re at an IMAX theater (for instance), you’ll get the best possible sound.
Getting Rid of The Batteries Once And For All
Hearing aids that don’t need their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? After all, making sure you’ve got spare batteries on hand, or even taking time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be a pain in the, um, ear. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. You’ll get faster charging time, extended use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.