You might think of your favorite sci-fi movie when somebody starts talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But nowadays, AI is more science than fiction. This is especially true with regard to hearing aids. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that just raise the volume of sounds around you. Modern, high-end hearing aids use AI.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a type of technology that uses sophisticated algorithms to produce new results from inputs of data. AI is capable of using an algorithm to take part in a kind of learning known as “machine learning”. As soon as the algorithm is working properly, there’s no need to “program” the AI to produce each separate result.
Depending on the amount of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make modifications depending on your routines and your requirements. Your hearing aids will be more effective at improving your ability to hear as a result.
How can you hear better with AI?
This might seem a little abstract at first. Hearing aids do seem to have a basic function, after all. How can things be improved by adding AI to the mix? Well, imagine a recording studio with the soundboard full of switches and knobs. (You’ve probably seen them in movies.) There’s a tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Changing these settings can deliver better sound quality. AI-powered hearing aids move these digital dials and switches automatically, improving how you hear without any hassle by you.
These smart devices use a deep neural network to emulate human brain responses. Without even being programmed to, these devices respond to real-time conditions because of this.
This is the same technology that lets streaming services suggest movies according to your viewing history, though it most likely sounds like futuristic technology at first. Newer cars utilize this technology to help you drive more safely and your email supplier utilizes it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. The more you make use of these devices, the more efficient they become at making correct decisions.
AI hearing aids – new advances
These days, hearing aids are incorporating several brand new improvements in AI to help you hear even better. Some of the most relevant instances include the following:
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a number of loud or echo-prone settings. A hearing aid can have a difficult time with cross-talk, for instance. But with an AI filtering out non-imperative information, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the person across from you is saying, even in a packed or noisy environment.
- Acoustic environment classification: Unique audio qualities come with each specific room you go into. Some of those properties are good for your hearing aids; some are negative for your hearing aids. You will hear better in just about any setting with AI technology making practical automatic adjustments.
- Edge mode: This is a user activated, AI assist mode. Basically, you can activate something called edge mode whenever you’re having a hard time hearing. When this is activated AI will start working on cleaning up what you’re hearing.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everybody was wearing masks, which was good, but certainly made talking with a hearing aid more difficult. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping those with hearing aids hear better and remain safe simultaneously.
This is probably only the start of the advancements scientists and manufacturers are making.
AI for the discipline of audiology
These days, AI has sort of become something of a buzzword. Depending on the application, AI does different things, which can sometimes cause confusion. So, what does AI mean for the discipline of audiology?
First off, it means that scientists are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more useful to patients. New technologies, including machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But it isn’t just hearing aids. In the future, AI might be able to help with detecting hearing loss or even helping patients prevent future hearing loss.
As the technology grows and becomes more reliable, patients can expect to see artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
The benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids
Unlike some other industries, AI isn’t being incorporated into hearing aids simply because it’s the hot new thing. Some significant advantages to patients are offered by these machine learning algorithms. Among those benefits are the following:
- You have more control over how you hear: Many AI-assisted hearing aids give you the option to turn those algorithms on or off. This means hearing aid wearers will have more control over the quality of sound they hear. And this often translates into hearing better more often.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re using a hearing aid and you take a tumble, your AI-assisted device can detect the severity of your fall. In some situations, these hearing aids might be programmed to automatically notify authorities or loved ones in the event of a severe fall. Should you be hydrating more, exercising more, eating healthier? AI can make your health information easier to understand.
- Social engagement: When it comes to managing social interaction, individuals who utilize AI-assisted hearing aids tend to be more successful, according to some research. This is most likely because the speech they hear is clearer in a larger number of settings. But that doesn’t automatically mean AI will make-or-break your social life. It probably just helps people better maintain the relationships they already have.
- Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other array devices can cause your hearing aids to feedback. Machine learning algorithms can help filter out this feedback, so all you will hear is the sound you really want to hear.
What this means for patients
These benefits frequently result in real-world advantages for those with these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you were at a party having a discussion. If you were using an older-style hearing aid, it would just boost the volume up. And sadly, background noise also gets boosted making it difficult to hear voices. An AI hearing aid is intelligent and will be capable of identifying and boosting a person’s voice while dulling undesired noise.
AI will generate a location-by-location program to deal with the various types of sounds it detects. If you go back to a particular location or sound profile, AI can initiate these programs. In order to better identify and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with day-to-day sounds.
Here are some other practical benefits to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- You will have improved quality of life.
- The cognitive load will be decreased.
- You won’t be aggravated because you can’t hear (at least, not as frequently).
You will be able to hang out with friends again, watch your favorite shows, and take good care of your brain, in other words.
Reward vs. cost
Because of the costs, AI wasn’t offered in most hearing aids until recent times. After all, the device itself must do some intense calculations (an algorithm, after all, is essentially a very elegant math problem). But prices are decreasing, partially due to the prevalence of the technology.
This doesn’t mean that every hearing aid you want might have AI, or even that those hearing aids will automatically be less pricey in the near future. Obviously, patients will still have to make important choices. But AI functions are becoming more widely available and prevalent.
Figuring out what option is best for you
For someone who lives alone and doesn’t go out very much, hearing aids with AI may not be worth the added cost. But AI makes a big difference for people who are socially involved and go out into loud situations a lot.
For somebody who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets exhausted easily in social scenarios, AI hearing aids would be very helpful. Social situations are simpler and the user will feel less tired with AI hearing aids. AI technology can also send alerts to your phone when the doorbell rings, alert others that you have fallen, and track your steps. Hearing aids will keep improving as AI technology improves.
How can AI technology help you? Make an appointment with us right away.