It seems as if all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and more compact. Generally speaking, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not a surprise. Though hearing issues have many different causes, hearing difficulties are more common amongst older people, and the world’s population is aging. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians report having trouble hearing, and since age is a better predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably go up.
Naturally, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one individual with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Better ways to decrease hearing loss? Let’s have them! Advancements are happening, here are a few.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This is so obvious, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” innovations. Devices that provide different kinds of health tracking are nearly 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 another one on your wrist? Nope! Or at least, you don’t with some of the newest hearing aids, which along with helping correct for hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Sure, a wearable like an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can offer you other kinds of input that can be helpful to tracking health, like how much time you spend having conversations or listening. Especially as you age your level of social engagement can actually be a key health metric.
Connectivity is the primary watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. Some hearing aids that provide Bluetooth capabilities now allow users to stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for instance, to the hearing aids. 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 technology is making things like music and movies more satisfying by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
In a similar way 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 goal (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 go and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being developed by a few brands, to learn your behaviors. Some push it even further, crowdsourcing data on how individuals use their hearing aids anonymizing and then mixing the data. 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 best audio experience.
Getting Rid of The Batteries Once And For All
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries changed? Sound too good to be true? It can be really inconvenient making sure you have spare 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 quicker charging time, longer use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.