Technology is developing into smarter, more powerful, and smaller devices. Being smaller while having more functionality is the general trend.
So it’s no surprise that hearing aids are no exception. Though hearing issues have many different causes, hearing problems are more common amongst older individuals, and the world’s population is getting older. About 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians report some amount of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is rising as age is the strongest demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Of course, if you’re dealing with hearing loss, even one individual with difficulty hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Better ways to alleviate hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the innovations that are happening.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This one seems like it should be obvious. Devices that provide different kinds of health tracking are nearly always worn and need to be worn close to the body. So, if you already have a device that’s in your ear… do you really need another one on your wrist? Nope! If you have the latest hearing aid, it probably can keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with improving hearing problems such as tinnitus. Hearing aids can also monitor things that other wearables usually don’t, like the duration of conversations. How much social engagement you get can actually be an essential health metric, particularly as you age.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have smoothly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the principal 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. Google released open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use certain channels within Bluetooth to provide uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This technology is making things like music and movies more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid may make individualized suggestions much like how a Fitbit alerts you to fitness goals or how Netflix suggests 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 usage 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 whether you’re watching TV at home or you’re at an IMAX theater (for example), you’ll get the best possible sound.
Getting Rid of The Batteries For Good
Hearing aids that don’t need their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? It can be very inconvenient making sure you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are fully charged. While we’re not likely to see hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a constant improvement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get faster charging time, extended use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.