Technology is evolving into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. In general, the trend is that devices have more features and take up less space.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not surprising. The world’s population is aging and hearing problems, though they can have many different causes, are more common amongst older people. About 37.5 million people 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.
Naturally, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one person with trouble hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing loss? Let’s have them! Innovations are happening, here are some.
Whole-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Devices that provide different kinds of health tracking are almost always worn and need to be worn close to the body. So, if you’ve already got a device that’s in your ear… do you actually need a separate 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 fixing hearing issues such as tinnitus. Sure, a wearable like an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can provide you with other kinds of input that can be helpful to tracking health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. How much social engagement you get can actually be a vital health metric, particularly as you get older.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the primary watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Audio from a device, like a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth capable. Android developers now have open-source specifications supplied by Google which lets them use certain Bluetooth channels to stream uninterrupted audio directly to your hearing aid. This technology is making things like movies and music more satisfying by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid might make individualized suggestions similar to how a Fitbit informs you of fitness objectives or how Netflix suggests 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 go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s usage 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 able to use this information to know what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the best audio experience.
Getting Rid of The Batteries For Good
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? It can be very inconvenient making sure you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While we’re not likely to see hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a constant improvement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get faster charging time, longer use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.