Technology is developing into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. Being smaller while having more functionality is the general trend.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not surprising. The world’s population is getting older and hearing problems, though they can have a number of causes, are more common amongst older people. Around 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians describe some amount of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is going up as age is the strongest 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 deal with hearing impairment? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the advancements that are in the works.
Whole-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
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? The answer is no. Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which in addition to helping fix hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Hearing aids can also track things that other wearables usually don’t, like the duration of conversations. How much social involvement 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 such as Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. 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 specs supplied by Google which allows them to use specific Bluetooth channels to stream continuous audio directly to your hearing aid. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids function almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy movies, music, and more.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Similar to how Netflix recommends shows and movies based on what you’ve watched previously, or your Fitbit buzzes to let you know you’ve reached a goal (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how ambitious your daily step goals are), your next hearing aid might make personalized suggestions. 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 information about people’s utilization 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 recognize what your situation is and make adjustments to provide you with the most enjoyable audio experience.
Getting Rid of The Batteries Once And For All
Ya, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t require batteries? It can be very 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 might seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. You’ll get faster charging time, longer use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.