It seems like all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and more compact. Being smaller while having more functionality is the general trend.
Hearing aids are no exception, and it’s not a surprise. The world’s population is aging and hearing problems, though they can have many different causes, are more common among older people. About 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians report some level of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is increasing as age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Of course, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one person with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Better ways to reduce hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the advancements that are in the works.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Entire Body
This is so obvious, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” innovations. Health and fitness trackers 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! If you have a newer hearing aid, it probably can track your pulse, physical activity along with fixing hearing issues like tinnitus. Sure, a wearable such as an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can offer you 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 important health metric, especially as you get older.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the major watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. 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 specifications provided by Google which lets them use certain Bluetooth channels to stream continuous audio straight to your hearing aid. This kind of technology is helping hearing aids work almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy movies, music, and more.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid may make individualized suggestions similar to how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness objectives or how Netflix recommends your next movie in line with your viewing trend. The places you visit and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by a few companies, to learn your habits. Some push it even further, crowdsourcing data on how people use their hearing aids anonymizing and then aggregating the data. All this info enables the hearing aids to figure out your preferences and make adjustments on the fly so that whether 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 Once And For All
We know, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t require batteries? It can be very 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 less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.