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. Though hearing problems have a variety of causes, hearing difficulties are more common among older individuals, and the world’s population is getting older. About 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians describe some amount of hearing loss according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is going up because age is the strongest demographic variable to predict hearing loss.
Of course, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one person with trouble hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Better ways to minimize hearing loss? Let’s have them! Advancements are happening, here are a few.
Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids
This is so obvious, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” innovations. Devices that offer different types 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 actually 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 such as tinnitus, will also keep track of your pulse, your physical activity, and a whole lot more. Sure, a wearable like an Apple Watch can do that, but hearing aids can provide you with other kinds of input that can be helpful to tracking health, like how much time you spend in active conversation or listening. Especially as you get older, your level of social involvement can actually be a key health metric.
Better Streaming Straight to You
Connectivity is the important watchword, as virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Some hearing aids that offer Bluetooth capabilities now allow users to stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for example, 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 technology is making things like music and movies more enjoyable by acting like super-powered wireless headphones.
Smart Adjustments From Big Data
Similar to how Netflix suggests shows and movies based on 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 committed your everyday step goals are), your next hearing aid may make personalized recommendations. The places you visit and the adjustments you make will allow these new hearing aids, being manufactured by several companies, to learn your habits. Some go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s utilization habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. All this information enables the hearing aids to determine your preferences and make adjustments on the fly so that if you’re watching TV at home or you’re in an IMAX theater (for example), you’ll get the best possible sound.
Getting Rid of The Batteries Once And For All
Ya, it sounds too good to be true, hearing aids that don’t need batteries? It can be really inconvenient making sure you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are fully charged. While a hearing aid that doesn’t use any batteries at all might seem like wishful thinking, rechargeable battery technology continues to improve. That means longer time in use, faster recharging, and less worrying about batteries, overall, not too bad.