Technology is evolving into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. Taking up less space while doing more is the overall trend.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not surprising. The world’s population is aging and hearing issues, though they can have many different causes, are more common amongst older individuals. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe having trouble hearing, and since age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably increase.
If you’re dealing with hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Better ways to reduce hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the advancements that are in the works.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Devices that offer different kinds of health tracking are almost always worn and have to be worn close to the body. So do you really need a device on your wrist if you already have one in your ear? The answer is no. If you have a newer hearing aid, it probably can keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with correcting hearing problems like tinnitus. Hearing aids can also track things that other wearables normally don’t, like the duration of conversations. Particularly as you get older, your level of social engagement can actually be an important health metric.
Connectivity is the important watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. Audio from a device, such as a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth capable. Google released open-source specifications for Android developers that show them how to use certain channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids function almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy movies, music, and more.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Similar to how Netflix recommends shows and movies based on what you’ve watched previously, or your Fitbit alerts you to tell you that you’ve reached a goal (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how committed your daily step goals are), your next hearing aid could make personalized suggestions. 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 data about people’s utilization habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. So whether you’re watching TV at home, or in an IMAX theater, your hearing aids will be capable of using this information to recognize what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the best audio experience.
Finally Ditching 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 taking time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology keeps improving. That means longer in-use time, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too bad.