It seems like all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and smaller. In general, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not a surprise. The world’s population is aging and hearing problems, though they can have a variety of causes, are more common amongst older people. Around 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe some level of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is increasing as age is the strongest demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the advancements that are happening.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems like it should be obvious. Health and fitness trackers 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! If you have a newer hearing aid, it can most likely keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with fixing hearing problems such as tinnitus. Hearing aids can also monitor things that other wearables normally don’t, like the time spent conversing. Especially as you get older, your level of social involvement can actually be a key health metric.
Connectivity is the major watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. Some hearing aids that offer Bluetooth capabilities now let users stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for example, to the hearing aids. Google released 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 technology is making things like movies and music more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
In a similar way to how Netflix recommends shows and movies based on what you’ve previously watched, or your Fitbit alerts you to tell you that you’ve reached a goal (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how ambitious your everyday step goals are), your next hearing aid may make personalized suggestions. The places you go and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by a few brands, to learn your behaviors. Some take it one step further, crowdsourcing information on how people 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 identify what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the most enjoyable audio experience.
Finally Losing The Batteries
Ya, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t require batteries? After all, making certain you’ve got spare batteries with you, or even making time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While a hearing aid that doesn’t use 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.