Technology is evolving into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. Taking up less space while having more functionality is the general trend.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not a surprise. The world’s population is getting older and hearing issues, though they can have a variety of causes, are more common among older individuals. Around 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians report some amount of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is increasing since age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Of course, if you’re suffering from 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? Bring ‘em on! Innovations are happening, here are a few.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
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 another one on your wrist? Nope! 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 keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Certainly, a wearable like an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can offer you other kinds of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend having conversations or listening. Particularly as you age your level of social involvement can actually be an important health metric.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the major watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. Some hearing aids that provide Bluetooth capabilities now allow users to 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 provide uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids work almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy music, movies, and more.
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 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 may make personalized suggestions. The places you go and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being developed by a few companies, to learn your behaviors. Some take it one step further, crowdsourcing data on how people use their hearing aids anonymizing and then mixing 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 provide you with the most enjoyable audio experience.
Getting Rid of The Batteries For Good
Ya, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t require batteries? After all, making certain you’ve got spare batteries on hand, 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. You’ll get quicker charging time, extended use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.