It seems like all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and smaller. Generally speaking, the trend is that devices have more features and take up less space.
So it’s not surprising that hearing aids are no exception. The world’s population is getting older and hearing problems, though they can have a number of causes, are more common amongst older people. About 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe some level of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is rising since age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
If you’re suffering from 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 happening.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This is so obvious, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” developments. Health and fitness trackers need to be worn on 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 can most likely track your pulse, physical activity along with improving hearing problems like tinnitus. Certainly, a wearable such as an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can offer you other kinds of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend having conversations or listening. Especially as you age your level of social involvement can actually be a key health metric.
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. Audio from a device, such as a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth compatible. Android developers now have open-source specifications supplied by Google which allows them to use specific Bluetooth channels to stream continuous audio directly to your hearing aid. 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 could make individualized recommendations much like how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness goals or how Netflix recommends your next movie in line with 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 data on how people use their hearing aids anonymizing and then mixing the data. All this information allows the hearing aids to figure out your tendencies and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re at home watching TV or you’re in an IMAX theater (for example), you’ll get the best possible sound.
Eliminating The Batteries For Good
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? It can be really inconvenient making sure you have extra batteries or that your hearing aids are fully charged. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology keeps improving. You’ll get faster charging time, extended use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.