It seems as if all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and more compact. Taking up less space while having more functionality is the general trend.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not surprising. The world’s population is getting older and hearing issues, though they can have a variety of causes, are more common among older people. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe having difficulty hearing, and because age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number is likely to increase.
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Are there any better ways to deal with hearing impairment? Let’s have them! Innovations are happening, here are some.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Devices that offer different types of health tracking are nearly always worn and have to be worn close to the body. So, if you’ve already got a device that’s in your ear… do you actually need a separate one on your wrist? The answer is no. Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which along with helping fix hearing difficulties such as tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. 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 tracking health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. How much social involvement you get can actually be a vital health metric, particularly as you get older.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the major watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. Audio from a device, like a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth compatible. Google published open-source specifications for Android developers that show them how to use certain channels within Bluetooth to provide uninterrupted audio directly to hearing aids. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids work almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy music, movies, and more.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid may make personalized suggestions similar to how a Fitbit informs you of fitness objectives or how Netflix suggests your next movie based on 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 usage 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 capable of using this information to identify what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the most enjoyable audio experience.
Finally Losing The Batteries
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? It can be very inconvenient making sure you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. That means longer in-use time, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too shabby.