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 surprising. Though hearing issues have a variety of causes, hearing issues are more common amongst older individuals, and the world’s population is aging. Around 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians report some amount of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is going up since age is the strongest demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
If you’re dealing with hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Are there any better ways to deal with hearing loss? Let’s have them! Innovations are happening, here are a few.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
This is so intuitive, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” innovations. Health and fitness trackers have to be worn on the body. So, if you already have a device that’s in your ear… do you really need another one on your wrist? The answer is no. If you have a newer hearing aid, it probably can track your pulse, physical activity along with improving hearing issues such as tinnitus. Hearing aids can also track things that other wearables usually don’t, like the time spent conversing. Especially as you age your level of social engagement can actually be a key health metric.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the major watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Some hearing aids that have 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 specifications for Android developers that show them how to use certain channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio directly to hearing aids. This technology is making things like movies and music more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid may make personalized suggestions similar to how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness goals or how Netflix recommends your next movie based on 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 push it even 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 capable of using this information to identify what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the best audio experience.
Finally Ditching The Batteries
Hearing aids that don’t need their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? It can be very inconvenient making certain you have extra batteries or that your hearing aids are fully charged. While we’re not likely to see hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a constant advancement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get quicker charging time, longer use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.