You might think of your favorite sci-fi movie when somebody mentions artificial intelligence (AI). But today, AI is a reality that we all better get accustomed to. With regard to hearing aids, this is especially true. The times when hearing aids merely amplified the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone for good. Modern-day, high-end hearing aids utilize AI.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a complex computer algorithm that utilizes data inputs to generate new results. AI is capable of using an algorithm to engage in a kind of learning known as “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t need to program every specific result because the algorithm does that on its own.
Depending on the extent of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make changes depending on your routines and your requirements. Your hearing aids will be more effective at increasing your ability to hear as a result.
How can you hear better with AI?
This might feel a bit abstract at first. Hearing aids do seem to have a straightforward function, after all. How can things be improved by adding AI to the mix? Well, imagine a recording studio with the soundboard full of switches and dials. (You’ve likely seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid contains one of those! (It’s minuscule.) Altering these settings can produce better quality sound. AI-powered hearing aids change these digital dials and switches automatically, enhancing how you hear without any hassle on your part.
This AI hearing aid mimics human brain response using a deep neural network. Without even being programmed to, these devices respond to real-time situations because of this.
This is the same technology that allows streaming services to recommend movies according to your viewing history, though it probably sounds like futuristic technology initially. AI is also found in cars and the emails auto-sorted into your inbox. The more you utilize these devices, the more efficient they become at making correct decisions.
AI hearing aids – new advances
Hearing aids nowadays are helping you hear even better with new advancements in AI technology. Here are some of the best examples:
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be activated by the user. Basically, when you have a hard time hearing, you can activate something called Edge Mode. When this is activated AI will begin working on clearing up what you’re hearing.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were undoubtedly tougher during the pandemic when everyone was wearing a facemask. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping people with hearing aids hear better and remain safe at the same time.
- Noisy room filters: If you’re in a setting that has lots of echoes, or is overly loud, new AI technology algorithms can separate out room noise. A hearing aid can have a difficult time with cross-talk, for instance. But even in a noisy setting, you’ll be capable of hearing more clearly what the individual across from you is saying as AI filters out unwanted information.
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you go into has its own distinct acoustic characteristics. Some of those properties are good for your hearing aids; some are bad for your hearing aids. You will hear better in nearly any environment with AI technology making practical automatic adjustments.
Hearing aid makers and scientists are continuously innovating new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the beginning.
How is AI utilized in the field of audiology?
These days, AI has kind of become a bit of a buzzword. Everybody’s heard it, which is okay, but the difficulty is that AI does different things depending on the contexts. So, what does AI mean for the field of audiology?
Making hearing aids even more useful for patients is one of the first and most evident things that researchers are working on. New technologies, including machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But hearing aids aren’t the whole story. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are some things that AI will likely do in the future.
As the technology expands and becomes more dependable, patients can expect to find artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
AI-assisted hearing aids and their benefits
AI is being integrated into hearing aids not because it’s the popular new fad, unlike other industries. These machine learning algorithms provide some considerable benefits to patients. Among those benefits are the following:
- Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other myriad devices can cause feedback in your hearing aids. This feedback can be filtered out by machine learning algorithms so the sound you actually want to hear is the only sound you will hear.
- Social engagement: Studies have shown that individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful when it comes to dealing with their social engagement. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide array of settings, which likely accounts for better social engagement. That said, it’s not entirely clear that AI is the defining factor in keeping your social life healthy. It most likely just helps people better maintain the relationships they already have.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re using a hearing aid and you take a fall, your AI-assisted device can determine the severity of your fall. In the event of a serious fall, these hearing aids can, in some situations, notify the Authorities. Should you be hydrating more, exercising more, eating better? AI can make your health information easier to interpret.
- You have more control over how you hear: Many AI-assisted hearing devices give you the option to turn those algorithms on or off. So the quality of sound users hear will be more in their control. And this normally means a better all-around hearing experience.
How does this impact patients?
For individuals with AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits often result in real-world advantages. Imagine you were at a party having a discussion. An older hearing aid would make everything louder. This isn’t useful because the conversation you actually care about will get overpowered by background noise. With AI, the hearing aid can listen to the noise around you and respond the way your brain would, dulling background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.
AI will create a location-by-location algorithm to deal with the various types of sounds it detects. If you go back to a specific location or sound profile, AI can initiate these programs. In order to better identify and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with day-to-day sounds.
Some of the other practical benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- The cognitive burden will be decreased.
- You will have improved quality of life.
- You will feel less aggravated because you will be able to hear better.
You will be able to spend time with friends again, watch your favorite shows, and take good care of your brain, in other words.
Reward vs. cost
Because of the costs, AI wasn’t available in the majority of hearing aids until recent times. After all, the device itself has to do some extreme calculations (an algorithm, of course, is basically a very elegant math problem). However, partially because of the prevalence of the technology, prices for AI hearing aids are beginning to go down.
That’s not saying that those hearing aids will definitely come down in price soon and you still might wind up wanting a model that doesn’t include AI capabilities. Obviously, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But AI features are becoming more readily available and common.
Deciding what’s best for you
Hearing aids with AI might be too much for someone who lives by themselves and stays home a lot. But AI makes a huge difference for individuals who are socially active and go out into loud situations a lot.
Hearing aids with AI are also helpful for somebody who is quickly worn out in social scenarios where the chore of keeping up with conversations utilizing a traditional hearing aid is exhausting. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less tired with AI hearing aids. When the doorbell rings, or when you have a fall AI technology can alert you or a loved one and it can even track your steps. As technology and AI develop, hearing aids will continue to as well.
How can AI technology help you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.