You might think of your favorite sci-fi movie when someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI). But today, AI is a reality that we all better get used to. This is especially true with regard to hearing aids. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that simply increase the volume of sounds around you. Contemporary, high-end hearing aids utilize AI.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is a form of technology that uses complex algorithms to produce new results from inputs of data. In doing this, AI algorithms engage in a kind of learning, appropriately called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t have to program every individual 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 adjustments depending on your behaviors and your requirements. Your hearing aids will be more effective at increasing your ability to hear as a result.
How can AI help hearing aids work better?
This may seem a bit abstract at first. Hearing aids do seem to have a basic function, after all. How can things be enhanced by adding AI to the mix? Well, you know that row of big knobs and buttons that people use to mix music in recording studios? (Maybe you’ve seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid has one of those! (It’s tiny.) Altering these settings can produce better sound quality. AI-powered hearing aids change these digital dials and switches automatically, improving the way you hear without any work by you.
This AI hearing aid imitates human brain response using a deep neural network. Without even being programmed to, these devices react to real-time situations because of this.
This is the same technology that lets streaming services suggest movies based on your viewing history, though it most likely sounds like futuristic technology initially. AI is also found in cars and the emails auto-sorted into your inbox. The more you use these devices, the more efficient they become at making correct decisions.
AI hearing aids – new innovations
Hearing aids nowadays are helping you hear even better with new advancements in AI technology. Here are some of the best examples:
- Noisy room filters: If you’re in a setting that has lots of echoes, or is extremely loud, new AI technology algorithms can filter out room noise. A hearing aid can have a hard time with cross-talk, for example. But with an AI filtering out non-essential information, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the person across from you is saying, even in a crowded or noisy setting.
- Acoustic environment classification: Distinctive audio qualities come with each specific room you walk into. Some of those qualities are good for your hearing aids; some are negative for your hearing aids. You will hear better in nearly any setting with AI technology making effective automatic adjustments.
- Edge mode: This is a user initiated, AI assist mode. Basically, you can initiate something known as edge mode whenever you’re having a hard time hearing. When this is activated AI will start working on cleaning up what you’re hearing.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everyone was wearing masks, which was good, but definitely made talking with a hearing aid more challenging. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping those with hearing aids hear better and stay safe simultaneously.
Hearing aid manufacturers and scientists are continuously developing new hearing aid technologies, so this might be just the beginning.
AI for the discipline of audiology
AI has become a bit of a buzzword these days. Depending on the context, AI does different things, which can occasionally cause confusion. So, what does AI mean for the field of audiology?
Making hearing aids even more beneficial for patients is one of the first and most evident things that researchers are working on. This research includes new technologies, including deep neural networks and machine learning. But hearing aids aren’t all there is to it. In the future, AI might be able to help with diagnosing hearing loss or even helping patients avoid future hearing loss.
Patients will see AI in more and more of their devices as the technology becomes more dependable.
The advantages of AI-assisted hearing aids
AI is being integrated into hearing aids not because it’s the popular new fad, unlike other industries. These machine learning algorithms provide some significant advantages to patients. Here are some of those benefits:
- Social engagement: With regard to managing social interaction, people who use AI-assisted hearing aids tend to be more successful, according to some research. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide array of settings, which most likely accounts for better social engagement. But that doesn’t automatically mean AI will make-or-break your social life. Likely, it simply helps those who are already social better manage their relationships.
- You have more control over how you hear: You can activate AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing aids. This means hearing aid users will have more control over the clarity of sound they hear. And this usually means a better overall hearing experience.
- Helping you listen to devices: Your hearing aid can get feedback from lots of devices, like televisions, cell phones, speaker phones, and a range of other devices. 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.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re using a hearing aid and you take a fall, your AI-assisted device can detect the seriousness of your fall. If there is a severe fall, these hearing aids can, in some situations, notify the Authorities. AI can also make your health data easier to understand, helping you identify when you should be moving more, eating better, or just hydrating more.
How does this affect patients?
These benefits often translate into real-world advantages for people with these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you are having a conversation at a party. If you were using an older-style hearing aid, it would just crank the volume up. And sadly, background noise also gets boosted making it difficult to hear voices. With AI, the hearing aid can tune in to the noise around you and react the way your brain would, dulling background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.
AI will generate a location-by-location program to deal with the various kinds of sounds it detects. These algorithms help when you return to a particular location or sound profile. In order to better define and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with day-to-day sounds.
Here are some other practical benefits to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- Your brain will experience a lower cognitive load.
- You will feel less frustrated because you will be able to hear better.
- You will have improved quality of life.
In other words, it’ll be easier to follow along with your favorite shows, hang out with your favorite people, and take care of your favorite brain.
Cost vs. reward
Because of the costs, AI wasn’t available in the majority of hearing aids until recently. After all, the device itself must perform some extreme calculations (an algorithm, of course, is basically a very fancy math problem). However, in part because of the prevalence of the technology, prices for AI hearing devices are starting to go down.
This doesn’t mean that every hearing aid you want might have AI, or even that those hearing aids will automatically be less expensive in the near future. Obviously, patients will still need to make important decisions. But AI features are becoming more readily obtainable and prevalent.
Finding out what choice is best for you
Hearing aids with AI might be too much for somebody who lives by themselves and stays home a lot. But AI makes a huge difference for individuals who are socially involved and go out into loud situations a lot.
Hearing aids with AI are also practical for someone who is quickly worn out in social situations where the chore of keeping up with conversations utilizing a traditional hearing aid is fatiguing. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less fatigued with AI hearing aids. AI technology can also send alerts to your phone when the doorbell rings, alert others that you have fallen, and track your steps. As technology and AI develop, hearing aids will continue to too.
How can AI technology help you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.