It seems as if all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and more compact. In general, the trend is that devices do more and take up less space.
This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not a surprise. The world’s population is getting older and hearing issues, though they can have a variety of causes, are more common among older individuals. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 37.5 million people and 3 million Canadians report having trouble hearing, and since age is a better predictor of hearing loss than any other demographic variable, that number is likely to increase.
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, that’s one person too many. Are there any better ways to manage hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Innovations are happening, here are a few.
Whole-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This is so obvious, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” innovations. Health and fitness trackers have 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? The answer is no. Or at least, you don’t with some of the newest hearing aids, which in addition to helping fix hearing difficulties like tinnitus, will also keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Hearing aids can also track things that other wearables normally don’t, like the duration of conversations. Particularly as you age your level of social involvement can actually be a key health metric.
Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have smoothly moved from smartphones to in-home devices and the primary emphasis here is connectivity. Some hearing aids that provide Bluetooth capabilities now let users stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for example, to the hearing aids. Google released open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to produce uninterrupted audio directly to hearing aids. This technology is making things like movies and music more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Your next hearing aid might make individualized suggestions much like how a Fitbit informs you of 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 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 capable of using this information to know what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the best audio experience.
Finally Losing The Batteries
Ya, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? It can be really inconvenient making certain you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While a hearing aid that doesn’t take any batteries at all might seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology keeps improving. You’ll get faster charging time, longer use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.