It seems like all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and more compact. In general, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
So it’s no surprise that hearing aids are no different. The world’s population is aging and hearing issues, though they can have a number of causes, are more common amongst older people. Around 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians describe some level of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is going up as age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Naturally, if you’re dealing with hearing loss, even one individual with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Better ways to reduce hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Innovations are happening, here are a few.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Devices that provide different types of health tracking are nearly 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? Nope! If you have the latest hearing aid, it can most likely track your pulse, physical activity along with correcting hearing problems like tinnitus. Hearing aids also have the ability to track things that other wearables usually don’t, like the duration of conversations. How much social engagement you get can actually be an essential health metric, especially as you get older.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have smoothly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the main emphasis here is connectivity. Some hearing aids that provide Bluetooth capabilities now allow users to stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for example, to the hearing aids. Android developers now have open-source specifications provided by Google which lets them use specific Bluetooth channels to stream uninterrupted audio straight to your hearing aid. This technology is making things like music and movies more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
In a similar way to how Netflix suggests shows and movies based on what you’ve watched previously, or your Fitbit buzzes to let you know you’ve reached a milestone (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how committed your daily step goals are), your next hearing aid might make personalized suggestions. The places you go and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being developed by several companies, to learn your habits. Some take it one step further, crowdsourcing data on how people use their hearing aids anonymizing and then aggregating the data. All this information enables the hearing aids to determine your tendencies and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re at home watching TV or you’re at an IMAX theater (for instance), you’ll get the best sound.
Eliminating The Batteries Once And For All
We know, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t require batteries? After all, making sure you’ve got spare batteries on hand, or even taking time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While a hearing aid that doesn’t use any batteries at all might seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. You’ll get faster charging time, longer use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.