Technology is developing into stronger, smarter, and smaller devices. Generally speaking, 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 number of causes, are more common amongst older people. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 37.5 million individuals and 3 million Canadians report having trouble hearing, and since 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. Are there any better ways to deal with hearing loss? Bring ‘em on! Here are some of the innovations that are happening.
Using Your Hearing Aid to Track Your Whole Body
This is so intuitive, 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 need to be worn close to the body. So, if you’ve already got a device that’s in your ear… do you actually need a separate one on your wrist? The answer is no. If you have a newer hearing aid, it probably can keep track of your pulse, physical activity along with correcting hearing issues like tinnitus. Hearing aids can also monitor things that other wearables usually don’t, like the time spent conversing. Particularly as you get older, your level of social engagement can actually be a key health metric.
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. Some hearing aids that have Bluetooth capabilities now allow users to stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for instance, to the hearing aids. Android developers now have open-source specifications supplied by Google which allows them to use certain 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.
Big Data Allows Smart Adjustments
Your next hearing aid might make personalized suggestions similar to how a Fitbit informs you of fitness goals or how Netflix suggests 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 developed 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. So whether you’re watching TV at home, or in an IMAX theater, your hearing aids will be capable of using this information to recognize what your situation is and make adjustments to provide you with the best audio experience.
Eliminating The Batteries For Good
Hearing aids that don’t need their batteries replaced? 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 a pain in the, um, ear. 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 quicker charging time, extended use time, and less worry about batteries, which seems pretty good.