Technology is developing into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. In general, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
So it’s no surprise that hearing aids are no exception. Though hearing issues have many different causes, hearing issues are more common amongst older individuals, and the world’s population is getting older. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians describe having difficulty hearing, and since age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number is likely to go up.
If you’re dealing with hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Innovations are happening, here are some.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
This one seems as if it should be obvious. Devices that offer different kinds of health tracking are nearly always worn and have 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? Nope! If you have a newer hearing aid, it probably can keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with improving hearing issues like tinnitus. Certainly, 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 having conversations or listening. How much social involvement you get can actually be a vital health metric, especially as you age.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have smoothly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the principal focus 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. Google published open-source specifications for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to provide uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This technology is making things like music and movies more satisfying by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid may make personalized recommendations much like how a Fitbit informs you of fitness goals or how Netflix suggests your next movie in line with your viewing trend. 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 know what your situation is and make adjustments to provide you with the best audio experience.
Finally Ditching The Batteries
Ya, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? It can be really inconvenient making sure you have extra batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all might seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. That means longer time in use, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too bad.