It seems as if all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and smaller. In general, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not surprising. The world’s population is getting older and hearing problems, though they can have a variety of causes, are more common among older individuals. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 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 minimize hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the advancements that are in the works.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Entire Body
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Health and fitness trackers need to be worn on the body. So, if you already have a device that’s in your ear… do you actually need a separate one on your wrist? Nope! Or at least, you don’t with some of the newest hearing aids, which along with helping fix hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Hearing aids also have the ability to track things that other wearables normally don’t, like the duration of conversations. Especially as you get older, your level of social engagement can actually be an important health metric.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have quickly 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. Google released open-source specifications for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This technology is making things like movies and music more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid could make personalized suggestions much like how a Fitbit informs you of 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 take it one step further, crowdsourcing information on how individuals use their hearing aids anonymizing and then mixing the data. All this info enables the hearing aids to ascertain your tendencies and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re watching TV at home or you’re in an IMAX theater (for instance), you’ll get the best sound.
Finally Ditching The Batteries
Ya, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? It can be very inconvenient making certain you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. You’ll get faster charging time, extended use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.