It seems like all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and more compact. Taking up less space while doing more is the overall trend.
So it’s not surprising that hearing aids are no different. The world’s population is aging and hearing issues, though they can have many different causes, are more common among older people. Around 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe some amount of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is rising since age is the strongest demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Are there any better ways to deal with hearing impairment? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the advancements that are happening.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole 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 latest hearing aids, which in addition to helping fix hearing difficulties such as tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Hearing aids can also track things that other wearables normally don’t, like the time spent conversing. How much social involvement you get can actually be a vital health metric, especially as you age.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the major watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. 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 provided by Google which allows them to use specific Bluetooth channels to stream uninterrupted audio straight to your hearing aid. This technology is making things like music and movies more satisfying by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Similar to how Netflix recommends shows and movies according to what you’ve previously watched, 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 recommendations. The places you visit and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being developed by a few companies, to learn your habits. Some go as far as to crowdsource information 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 identify what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the most enjoyable audio experience.
Finally Ditching The Batteries
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? After all, making sure you’ve got spare batteries on hand, or even making time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be a pain in the, um, ear. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all may seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology keeps improving. That means longer time in use, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too shabby.