Technology is developing into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. In general, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
So it’s not surprising that hearing aids are no exception. Though hearing issues have a number of causes, hearing issues are more prevalent among older people, and the world’s population is getting older. About 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians report some level of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is going up as age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
If you’re dealing with hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing loss? Let’s have them! Advancements are happening, here are some.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Entire Body
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Health and fitness trackers 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 the latest hearing aid, it probably can track your pulse, physical activity along with correcting hearing problems like tinnitus. Sure, a wearable such as an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can offer you other types of input that can be helpful to tracking health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. How much social engagement you get can actually be a vital health metric, especially as you age.
Connectivity is the important watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Audio from a device, such as a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth capable. Google released open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio directly to hearing aids. This type of technology is helping hearing aids work almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy movies, music, and more.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid could make individualized recommendations similar to how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness goals 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 information about people’s utilization 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 know what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the best audio experience.
Eliminating The Batteries Once And For All
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries changed? Sound too good to be true? It can be really inconvenient making sure you have extra batteries or that your hearing aids are fully charged. While a hearing aid that doesn’t use any batteries at all might 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 bad.