Technology is developing into smarter, more powerful, and smaller devices. In general, the trend is that devices have more features and take up less space.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not surprising. The world’s population is getting older and hearing problems, though they can have a number of causes, are more common amongst older people. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians describe having difficulty hearing, and since age is a better predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number will probably increase.
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Better ways to decrease hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the advancements that are in the works.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
This is so obvious, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” developments. Devices that offer different kinds of health tracking are almost always worn and have to be worn on the body. So do you really need a device on your wrist if you already have one in your ear? The answer is no. If you have a newer hearing aid, it can most likely keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with fixing hearing issues like tinnitus. Certainly, a wearable such as an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can provide you with other types of input that can be helpful to tracking health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. How much social engagement you get can actually be an essential health metric, particularly as you age.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the primary watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices without missing a beat. Audio from a device, such as a smart TV can now be streamed directly to your hearing aid if it is Bluetooth capable. Google published open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use certain channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio directly to hearing aids. This technology is making things like movies and music more satisfying by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid may make personalized suggestions much like how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness objectives or how Netflix recommends your next movie in line with your viewing trend. 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 information 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 identify what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the best audio experience.
Eliminating The Batteries Once And For All
Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries changed? Sound too good to be true? After all, making sure you’ve got spare batteries with you, or even making time to recharge your hearing aid batteries, can be annoying. While we’re not likely to get hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a constant advancement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get quicker charging time, extended use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.