It seems like all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and smaller. Generally speaking, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
So it’s not surprising that hearing aids are no exception. The world’s population is getting older and hearing issues, though they can have a variety of causes, are more common among older individuals. About 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians report some amount of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is going up as age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Naturally, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one individual with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing impairment? Bring ‘em on! Innovations are happening, here are some.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
This is so intuitive, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” developments. Devices that offer different types of health tracking are almost always worn and have to be worn on the body. So, if you’ve already got a device that’s in your ear… do you really need a separate one on your wrist? Nope! Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which along with helping fix hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Hearing aids can also track things that other wearables usually don’t, like the time spent conversing. Especially as you get older, your level of social engagement can actually be a key health metric.
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have quickly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the primary emphasis here is connectivity. Audio from a device, such as a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth capable. Google published open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use certain channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This kind 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 may make personalized recommendations similar to how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness goals or how Netflix recommends 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 brands, to learn your behaviors. Some go as far as to crowdsource data 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 identify what your situation is and make adjustments to provide you with the best audio experience.
Getting Rid of The Batteries For Good
We know, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? It can be really inconvenient making certain you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are fully charged. 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 quicker charging time, extended use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.