When someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI), it might conjure thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But nowadays, AI is more science than just fiction. This is particularly true with regard to hearing aids. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that merely increase the volume of sounds around you. AI is at the root of contemporary hearing aids.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a complex computer algorithm that uses data inputs to produce new results. AI is capable of using an algorithm to participate in a type of learning called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t have to program every individual result because the algorithm does that by itself.
In the instance of hearing aids, AI algorithms can help your hearing aids adapt to your personal requirements based on your behaviors, lifestyle, habits, and degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids will be more effective at improving your ability to hear as a result.
How can you hear better with AI?
This may seem a bit abstract initially. After all, hearing aids seem to have a fairly straightforward function. How can adding AI to the situation improve things? Well, picture a recording studio with the soundboard loaded with buttons and dials. (You’ve most likely seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid contains one of those! (It’s minuscule.) Altering these settings can deliver better sound quality. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are changed automatically without requiring you to do anything.
This AI hearing aid mimics human brain response using a deep neural network. As a result of this, these hearing aids react in real-time to conditions without being programmed to deal with them.
This is the same technology that lets streaming services recommend movies according to your viewing history, though it probably sounds like futuristic technology initially. Newer cars use this technology to help you drive more safely and your email provider uses it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. The more you make use of these devices, the more reliable they become at making proper decisions.
AI hearing aids – new advances
These days, hearing aids are integrating several brand new improvements in AI to help you hear even better. Some of the most relevant instances include the following:
- Noisy room filters: If you’re in a setting that has lots of echoes, or is excessively loud, new AI technology algorithms can filter out room noise. A hearing aid can have a hard time with cross-talk, for instance. But even in a loud setting, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the individual across from you is saying as AI filters out unwanted information.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were undoubtedly more difficult during the pandemic when everybody was wearing a facemask. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping people with hearing aids hear better and stay safe simultaneously.
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you go into has its own distinct acoustic properties. Some of those properties are good for your hearing aids; some are negative for your hearing aids. You will hear better in nearly any environment with AI technology making effective automatic adjustments.
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be activated by the user. Essentially, when you have a difficult time hearing, you can activate something known as Edge Mode. This then triggers the AI algorithm and the algorithm will start working to make your hearing clearer.
Hearing aid producers and scientists are continuously developing new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg.
How is AI employed in the discipline of audiology?
AI has become somewhat of a buzzword these days. Depending on the application, AI does different things, which can sometimes result in confusion. So when it comes to the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
Making hearing aids even more beneficial for patients is one of the first and most evident things that researchers are tackling. This research includes new technologies, such as deep neural networks and machine learning. But hearing aids aren’t all there is to it. In the future, AI might be able to help with diagnosing hearing loss or even helping patients avoid future hearing loss.
Patients will find AI in more and more of their devices as the technology becomes more dependable.
The benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids
Unlike some other industries, AI isn’t being incorporated into hearing aids simply because it’s the popular new fad. Some considerable benefits to patients are offered by these machine learning algorithms. Among those advantages are the following:
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re wearing a hearing aid and you take a tumble, your AI-assisted device can determine the severity of your fall. In some situations, these hearing aids might be programmed to automatically alert authorities or loved ones if there is a major fall. Should you be hydrating more, exercising more, eating better? AI can make your health information easier to understand.
- Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other array devices can cause your hearing aids to feedback. Machine learning algorithms can help filter out this feedback, so all you will hear is the sound you actually want to hear.
- You have more control over how you hear: Many AI-assisted hearing devices give you the option to turn those algorithms on or off. This means hearing aid users will have more control over the clarity of sound they hear. And this often means hearing better more frequently.
- Social engagement: When it comes to managing social interaction, individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids tend to be more successful, according to some studies. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide variety of settings, which most likely accounts for better social engagement. But that doesn’t necessarily mean AI will make-or-break your social life. It most likely just helps people better maintain the relationships they already have.
What this means for patients
For people who use AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits frequently lead to real-world advantages. Imagine you were at a party having a conversation. An older hearing aid would raise the volume on everything. And sadly, background noise also gets boosted making it impossible to hear voices. With AI, the hearing aid can listen to the noise around you and respond the way your brain would, lowering background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.
AI will create a location-by-location program to address the various kinds of sounds it picks up. If you return to a particular location or sound profile, AI can initiate these algorithms. Other hearing aids with AI are programmed with day-to-day sounds in order to better define and amplify important sounds.
Some of the other practical advantages of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- Your quality of life will improve.
- Your brain will experience a decreased cognitive burden.
- You won’t be frustrated because you can’t hear (at least, not as frequently).
You will be able to spend time with friends again, watch your favorite shows, and take good care of your brain, in other words.
Cost vs. reward
There was a time when AI wasn’t available in the vast majority of hearing aids because of the costs involved. An algorithm is, in fact, an intricate math equation. But prices are coming down, partially due to the prevalence of the technology.
This doesn’t mean that every hearing aid you want might have AI, or even that those hearing aids will automatically be less costly in the near future. Obviously, patients will still have to make important decisions. But AI functions are becoming more widely obtainable and prevalent.
Figuring out what choice is best for you
Hearing aids with AI may be too much for someone who lives by themselves and stays put a lot. But AI makes a big difference for individuals who are socially active and go out into loud situations a lot.
Hearing aids with AI are also useful for somebody who is rapidly worn out in social scenarios where the task of keeping up with conversations utilizing a traditional hearing aid is exhausting. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less tired 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.