It seems as if all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and more compact. Taking up less space while having more functionality is the general trend.
So it’s not surprising that hearing aids are no different. Though hearing issues have a variety of causes, hearing difficulties are more common amongst older people, and the world’s population is aging. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians report having difficulty hearing, and since age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably increase.
Naturally, if you’re dealing with hearing loss, even one person with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Better ways to minimize hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the advancements that are in the works.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Entire Body
This is so obvious, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” developments. Devices that offer different kinds of health tracking are almost always worn and need to be worn close to the body. So, if you already have a device that’s in your ear… do you really 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 in addition to helping correct for hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Hearing aids can also monitor things that other wearables normally don’t, like the duration of conversations. How much social involvement you get can actually be an essential health metric, especially as you get older.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the important watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Some hearing aids that offer Bluetooth capabilities now let users stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for instance, to the hearing aids. Google released open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio directly to hearing aids. This technology is making things like music and movies more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid may make personalized suggestions similar to how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness goals or how Netflix suggests your next movie in line with 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. All this information enables the hearing aids to figure out 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 possible sound.
Getting Rid of The Batteries Once And For All
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 use any batteries at all might seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology keeps improving. That means longer time in use, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, all in all, not too shabby.