It seems as if all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and smaller. In general, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not surprising. The world’s population is aging and hearing issues, though they can have a variety of causes, are more common among older individuals. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe having trouble hearing, and since age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number is likely to increase.
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Better ways to minimize hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Innovations are happening, here are some.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Entire Body
This one seems like it should be obvious. Health and fitness trackers have to be worn on the body. So, if you’ve already got a device that’s in your ear… do you really need another one on your wrist? Nope! If you have a newer hearing aid, it can most likely keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with correcting hearing problems like tinnitus. Certainly, a wearable like an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can give you other types of input that can be helpful to monitoring health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. How much social involvement you get can actually be an important health metric, particularly as you age.
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have quickly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the primary emphasis 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. Android developers now have open-source specs provided by Google which allows them to use certain 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.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid might make personalized suggestions similar to how a Fitbit informs you of fitness goals or how Netflix suggests your next movie based on your viewing trend. The places you go and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by a few companies, to learn your behaviors. Some go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s usage habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this information enables the hearing aids to determine 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.
Eliminating The Batteries For Good
Hearing aids that don’t need 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 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 in-use time, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, all in all, not too bad.