It seems as if all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and more compact. In general, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not surprising. Though hearing problems have a variety of causes, hearing issues are more common among older individuals, and the world’s population is getting older. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe having trouble hearing, and because age is a stronger predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably increase.
Naturally, if you’re dealing with hearing loss, even one individual with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to deal with hearing impairment? Bring ‘em on! Innovations are happening, here are some.
Complete-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 nearly always worn and need to be worn on the body. So, if you’ve already got a device that’s in your ear… do you really need a separate one on your wrist? Nope! Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which along with helping fix hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Hearing aids can also monitor things that other wearables usually don’t, like the duration of conversations. Particularly as you age your level of social involvement can actually be an important health metric.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the important watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have advanced from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Some hearing aids that have Bluetooth capabilities now let users stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for example, to the hearing aids. Android developers now have open-source specs provided by Google which allows them to 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.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Similar to how Netflix recommends shows and movies based on what you’ve previously watched, or your Fitbit alerts you to tell you that you’ve reached a goal (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how ambitious your everyday step goals are), your next hearing aid might 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. 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 give you the most enjoyable audio experience.
Getting Rid of The Batteries For Good
We know, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? After all, making sure you’ve got spare batteries on hand, or even taking time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While we’re not likely to see hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a continuous advancement in rechargeable technology. That means longer in-use time, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, all in all, not too bad.