It seems as if all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and smaller. In general, 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 many different causes, hearing difficulties are more prevalent amongst older individuals, and the world’s population is getting older. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians report having difficulty hearing, and because age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably increase.
Of course, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one individual with trouble hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to deal with hearing impairment? Let’s have them! Here are some of the advancements that are in the works.
Whole-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems like it should be obvious. Health and fitness trackers need to be worn on the body. So, if you’ve already got a device that’s in your ear… do you really need another one on your wrist? The answer is no. If you have a newer hearing aid, it probably can keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with correcting hearing problems such as tinnitus. Certainly, a wearable like an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can provide you with other types of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend having conversations or listening. Especially as you age your level of social involvement can actually be a key health metric.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the important watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Some hearing aids that provide 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 specs provided by Google which allows them to use specific Bluetooth channels to stream continuous audio directly to your hearing aid. 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 could make personalized suggestions similar to how a Fitbit informs you of fitness objectives or how Netflix suggests your next movie in line with your viewing trend. The places you go and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by several companies, to learn your habits. Some go as far as to crowdsource information about people’s utilization habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this info allows the hearing aids to determine your tendencies 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 sound.
Finally Ditching The Batteries
Hearing aids that don’t need their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? After all, making certain you’ve got spare batteries with you, or even taking time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While a hearing aid that doesn’t use any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. That means longer time in use, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too bad.