It seems as if all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and smaller. In general, the trend is that devices have more features and take up less space.
So it’s no surprise that hearing aids are no different. The world’s population is aging and hearing issues, though they can have a variety of causes, are more common among older individuals. About 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians report some amount 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.
Of course, if you’re dealing with hearing loss, even one individual with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to deal with hearing loss? Let’s have them! Here are some of the advancements that are happening.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Health and fitness trackers have to be worn on the body. So do you really need a device on your wrist if you already have one in your ear? The answer is no. Or at least, you don’t with some of the newest hearing aids, which along with helping correct for hearing difficulties such as tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Hearing aids also have the ability to monitor things that other wearables normally don’t, like the duration of conversations. How much social engagement you get can actually be an essential health metric, particularly as you get older.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have smoothly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the principal emphasis here is connectivity. Audio from a device, like a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth compatible. Android developers now have open-source specifications provided by Google which allows them to use specific Bluetooth channels to stream continuous audio directly to your hearing aid. 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 could make individualized recommendations similar to how a Fitbit informs you of fitness goals or how Netflix suggests your next movie based on your viewing trend. The places you visit and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being developed by several brands, to learn your habits. Some take it one step further, crowdsourcing information on how individuals use their hearing aids anonymizing and then aggregating the data. So whether you’re watching TV at home, or in an IMAX theater, your hearing aids will be able to use this information to recognize what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the most enjoyable audio experience.
Finally Ditching The Batteries
We know, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? After all, making certain you’ve got spare batteries with you, or even taking time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all might seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. You’ll get quicker charging time, extended use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.