It seems as if all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and more compact. Taking up less space while having more functionality is the general trend.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not a surprise. The world’s population is aging and hearing issues, though they can have many different causes, are more common amongst older individuals. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe having difficulty hearing, and because age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number is likely to go up.
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Better ways to decrease hearing loss? Let’s have them! Here are some of the advancements that are in the works.
Whole-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This is so intuitive, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” innovations. Devices that provide different types of health tracking are almost always worn and need to be worn on the body. So, if you already have a device that’s in your ear… do you really need another one on your wrist? Nope! Or at least, you don’t with some of the newest hearing aids, which along with helping fix hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Hearing aids also have the ability to track things that other wearables normally don’t, like the time spent conversing. How much social involvement you get can actually be an essential health metric, especially as you get older.
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, like a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth capable. Android developers now have open-source specs provided by Google which lets them use specific Bluetooth channels to stream uninterrupted audio directly to your hearing aid. This technology is making things like music and movies more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Similar to how Netflix suggests shows and movies according to what you’ve watched previously, or your Fitbit buzzes to let you know you’ve reached a milestone (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how driven your everyday step goals are), your next hearing aid may make personalized recommendations. 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 data about people’s utilization habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this information enables the hearing aids to ascertain your preferences and make adjustments on the fly so that whether you’re watching TV at home or you’re at an IMAX theater (for instance), you’ll get the best sound.
Getting Rid of The Batteries For Good
Ya, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t require batteries? It can be really inconvenient making sure you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While we’re not likely to see hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a consistent advancement in rechargeable technology. That means longer time in use, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too shabby.