Technology is evolving into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. Being smaller while doing more is the general trend.
So it’s no surprise that hearing aids are no exception. The world’s population is aging and hearing problems, though they can have a variety of causes, are more common among older individuals. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians report having trouble hearing, and because age is a better predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number is likely to go up.
If you’re dealing with hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing impairment? Bring ‘em on! Advancements are happening, here are some.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This is so intuitive, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” innovations. Health and fitness trackers need to be worn on the body. So, if you already have a device that’s in your ear… do you actually need another one on your wrist? Nope! Or at least, you don’t with some of the newest hearing aids, which in addition to helping correct for hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Hearing aids can also track things that other wearables normally don’t, like the time spent conversing. Especially as you age your level of social involvement can actually be an important 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. 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 provide uninterrupted audio directly to hearing aids. This type of technology is helping hearing aids function almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy movies, music, and more.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Similar to how Netflix suggests shows and movies based on what you’ve previously watched, or your Fitbit buzzes to let you know you’ve reached a milestone (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how driven your daily step goals are), your next hearing aid might make personalized suggestions. The places you go and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by a few companies, to learn your habits. Some go as far as to crowdsource information about people’s usage habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this information enables the hearing aids to ascertain your preferences and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re watching TV at home or you’re in an IMAX theater (for example), you’ll get the best sound.
Finally Losing The Batteries
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? It can be really inconvenient making sure 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 faster charging time, extended use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.