It seems as if all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and smaller. Generally speaking, the trend is that devices have more features and take up less space.
So it’s no surprise that hearing aids are no different. Though hearing issues have many different causes, hearing issues are more prevalent amongst older people, and the world’s population is getting older. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians report 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 minimize hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Advancements are happening, here are some.
Whole-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This is so intuitive, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” developments. Devices that offer different types of health tracking are almost always worn and have to be worn close to 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 track 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 having conversations or listening. Especially as you get older, your level of social involvement can actually be an important health metric.
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. Some hearing aids that offer Bluetooth capabilities now let users stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for instance, to the hearing aids. Android developers now have open-source specs supplied by Google which lets them use specific Bluetooth channels to stream uninterrupted audio straight to your hearing aid. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids function almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy music, movies, and more.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
In a similar way to how Netflix recommends shows and movies according to what you’ve watched previously, or your Fitbit buzzes to let you know you’ve reached a goal (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how driven your everyday step goals are), your next hearing aid might make personalized suggestions. The places you go and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by several brands, to learn your behaviors. Some go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s utilization habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this info allows the hearing aids to figure out your preferences and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re at home watching TV or you’re at an IMAX theater (for instance), you’ll get the best possible sound.
Eliminating The Batteries For Good
We know, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t require batteries? It can be really inconvenient making sure you have extra batteries or that your hearing aids are fully charged. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all might seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. You’ll get faster charging time, longer use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.