It seems like all our devices are getting smarter, stronger, and smaller. In general, the trend is that devices have more features and take up less space.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not a surprise. Though hearing issues have a variety of causes, hearing problems are more common amongst older individuals, and the world’s population is getting older. About 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe some level of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is rising because age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Of course, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one person with trouble hearing, i.e. you, is 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 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 another one on your wrist? The answer is no. 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. Hearing aids also have the ability to track things that other wearables usually don’t, like the duration of conversations. Particularly as you get older, your level of social engagement can actually be a key health metric.
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have smoothly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the principal focus 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 specifications provided by Google which lets them use specific Bluetooth channels to stream continuous audio directly to your hearing aid. This type of technology is helping hearing aids function almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy music, movies, and more.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid may make individualized recommendations similar to how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness objectives or how Netflix recommends your next movie based on your viewing trend. The places you visit and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being developed by several companies, to learn your habits. Some go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s usage 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 capable of using this information to identify what your situation is and make adjustments to give you 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 certain you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are fully charged. While we’re not likely to get hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a consistent advancement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get faster charging time, longer use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.