When somebody mentions artificial intelligence (AI), it may arouse thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But today, AI is a reality that we all need to get used to. This is especially true with regard to hearing aids. The times when hearing aids simply increased the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone forever. Contemporary, high-end hearing aids use AI.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is a sophisticated computer algorithm that makes use of data inputs to generate new results. AI is able to use an algorithm to engage in a kind of learning known as “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t need to program every individual result because the algorithm does that by itself.
In the case of hearing aids, AI algorithms can help your hearing aids adapt to your personal needs based on your behaviors, lifestyle, habits, and level of hearing loss. This makes your hearing aid more successful at improving your hearing.
How can you hear better with AI?
This might feel a little abstract initially. Hearing aids do seem to have a basic function, after all. How can things be improved by adding AI to the mix? Well, you know that row of big knobs and switches that people utilize to mix music in recording studios? (Perhaps you’ve seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid includes one of those! (It’s minuscule.) Better quality of sound can be attained by modifying these settings. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are changed automatically without needing you to do anything.
This AI hearing aid mimics human brain response using a deep neural network. Without even being programmed to, these devices respond to real-time conditions because of this.
This is the same technology that allows streaming services to suggest movies based on your viewing history, though it most likely sounds like futuristic technology initially. Newer cars utilize this technology to help you drive more safely and your email supplier uses it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. The more you use these devices, the more efficient they become at making correct decisions.
AI hearing aids – new advances
These days, hearing aids are integrating multiple brand new improvements in AI to help you hear even better. Here are some of the best examples:
- Acoustic environment classification: Distinctive audio qualities come with each specific room you walk into. Your hearing aids can deal with some of those properties, but others it doesn’t do so well with. You will hear better in almost any environment with AI technology making practical automatic adjustments.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everyone was masking up, which was good, but certainly made talking with a hearing aid more challenging. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping people with hearing aids hear better and stay safe at the same time.
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a number of loud or echo-prone settings. Cross talk, for example, can often be hard on a hearing aid. But with an AI filtering out non-imperative information, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the person across from you is saying, even in a packed or noisy environment.
- Edge mode: This is a user activated, AI assist mode. Basically, when you have a difficult time hearing, you can activate something known as Edge Mode. When this is initiated AI will start working on clearing up what you’re hearing.
Hearing aid producers and scientists are continuously innovating new hearing aid technologies, so this might be just the beginning.
AI for the discipline of audiology
AI has become somewhat of a buzzword these days. Everybody’s heard it, which is good, but the difficulty is that AI does different things depending on the applications. So when it comes to the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
First off, it means that scientists are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more helpful to patients. New technologies, like machine learning and deep neural networks, are a big part of this research. But hearing aids aren’t all there is to it. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are a couple of the things that AI will likely do in the future.
As the technology expands and becomes more dependable, patients can expect to find artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
AI-assisted hearing aids and their benefits
Unlike some other industries, AI is not being incorporated into hearing aids just because it’s the popular new thing. Some considerable advantages to patients are offered by these machine learning algorithms. Here are some of those benefits:
- Health tracking and fall prevention: If you accidentally fall while you’re wearing your hearing aids, your AI-assisted devices may be capable of detecting the significance and seriousness of your tumble. If there is a severe fall, these hearing aids can, in some cases, notify the Authorities. Should you be drinking more water, exercising more, eating healthier? AI can make your health data easier to interpret.
- 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 usually means a better all-around hearing experience.
- Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other array devices can cause feedback in your hearing aids. This feedback can be filtered out by machine learning algorithms so the sound you actually want to hear is the only sound you will hear.
- Social engagement: Studies have found that individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful in terms of managing their social involvement. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide variety of settings, which likely accounts for better social interaction. But that doesn’t necessarily mean AI will make-or-break your social life. Most likely, it simply helps people who are already social better preserve their relationships.
What this means for patients
These benefits frequently translate into real-world advantages for individuals with these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you are having a discussion at a party. If you were using an older-style hearing aid, it would just boost the volume up. This isn’t useful because the conversation you actually care about will get overpowered by background noise. An AI hearing aid is intelligent and will be able to identify and boost a person’s voice while dulling unwanted noise.
AI will generate a location-by-location algorithm to address the various types of sounds it picks up. These programs help when you go back to a particular location or sound profile. Other hearing aids with AI are programmed with everyday sounds in order to better define and amplify important sounds.
Some of the other practical benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- You won’t be aggravated because you can’t hear (at least, not as frequently).
- You will have improved quality of life.
- The cognitive burden will be decreased.
In other words, it’ll be easier to hear your favorite shows, hang out with your favorite people, and take care of your favorite brain.
Cost vs. reward
There was a time when AI was not available in the vast majority of hearing aids because of the costs involved. An algorithm is, after all, a complex math equation. But prices are decreasing, partially due to the prevalence of the technology.
That isn’t saying that those hearing aids will absolutely come down in price soon and you still may wind up wanting a model that doesn’t include AI functionality. Clearly, patients will still need to make important decisions. However, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more prevalent and more readily available.
Finding out what option is best for you
Hearing aids with AI might be too much for somebody who lives by themselves and stays put a lot. But AI makes a huge difference for individuals who are socially involved and go out into noisy situations a lot.
Hearing aids with AI are also practical for somebody who is quickly worn out in social situations where the chore of keeping up with conversations utilizing a traditional hearing aid is exhausting. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less exhausted 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 continue to improve as AI technology improves.
Want to see how AI hearing aids can work for you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.