You may think of your favorite sci-fi movie when someone starts talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But nowadays, AI is more science than just fiction. This is particularly true with regard to hearing aids. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that merely increase the volume of sounds around you. AI is at the root of contemporary hearing aids.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a type of technology that makes use of sophisticated algorithms to produce new results from inputs of data. In doing this, AI algorithms take part in a type of learning, appropriately called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t need to program every specific result because the algorithm does that by itself.
Depending on the degree 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 improving your ability to hear as a result.
How does AI help hearing aids work more effectively?
This might seem a bit abstract at first. Hearing aids do seem to have a basic function, after all. How can adding AI to the situation improve things? Well, picture a recording studio with the soundboard full of switches and knobs. (You’ve probably seen them in movies.) There’s a little tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Better audio quality can be achieved by altering these settings. AI-powered hearing aids move these digital dials and switches automatically, improving how you hear without any work on your part.
This AI hearing aid mimics human brain response using a deep neural network. Without even being programmed to, these devices react to real-time situations because of this.
This may sound like space-age science, but it’s the same fundamental technology that allows streaming services to suggest programming based on your viewing history. Newer cars utilize this technology to help you drive more safely and your email provider uses it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. The more you utilize these devices, the more efficient they become at making proper decisions.
AI hearing aids – new advances
Hearing aids nowadays are helping you hear even better with new developments in AI technology. Some of the most relevant examples include the following:
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you go into has its own unique acoustic characteristics. Some of those properties are good for your hearing aids; some are negative for your hearing aids. With AI technology, your hearing aid can effectively make automatic corrections that allow you to hear better in just about any setting.
- Noisy room filters: If you’re in a location that has lots of echoes, or is excessively loud, new AI technology algorithms can filter out room noise. A hearing aid can have a hard time with cross-talk, for instance. But even in a noisy environment, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the person across from you is saying as AI filters out unwanted information.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everyone was masking up, which was good, but definitely made conversations with a hearing aid more challenging. You can remain safer and hear better at the same time as AI algorithms can amplify the voice behind the facemask.
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be initiated by the user. Basically, you can activate something known as edge mode whenever you’re having a difficult time hearing. When this is triggered AI will start working on cleaning up what you’re hearing.
Hearing aid manufacturers and scientists are continuously developing new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the beginning.
AI for the field of audiology
AI has become somewhat of a buzzword these days. Everyone’s heard it, which is okay, but the difficulty is that AI does different things depending on the applications. So in terms of the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
Making hearing aids even more helpful for patients is one of the first and most evident things that researchers are working on. New technologies, like machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But it’s not just hearing aids. In the future, AI may be able to help with detecting hearing loss or even helping patients avoid future hearing loss.
As the technology grows and becomes more dependable, patients can expect to see artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
The benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids
AI is being integrated into hearing aids not because it’s the popular new fad, in contrast to other industries. Some significant benefits to patients are offered by these machine learning algorithms. Among those advantages are the following:
- 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: If you happen to fall while you’re wearing your hearing aids, your AI-assisted devices might be able to detect the significance and severity of your tumble. If there is a serious fall, these hearing aids can, in some cases, notify the Authorities. AI can also make your health information easier to interpret, helping you know when you should be exercising more, eating better, or just hydrating more.
- 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 clarity of sound users hear will be more in their control. And this usually means hearing better more frequently.
- Social engagement: When it comes to managing social interaction, individuals who utilize AI-assisted hearing aids are likely to be more successful, according to some research. This is likely because the speech they hear is clearer in a wider variety of environments. That said, it’s not completely clear that AI is the deciding factor in keeping your social life afloat. Most likely, it simply helps those who are already social better maintain their relationships.
What this means for patients
For people who use AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits often become real-world advantages. Imagine you are having a discussion at a party. If you were using an older-style hearing aid, it would just crank the volume up. This isn’t practical 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 react the way your brain would, dulling background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.
AI will generate a location-by-location program to address the various kinds of sounds it picks up. These algorithms help when you return to a specific location or sound profile. In order to better identify and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with day-to-day sounds.
Here are some other practical advantages to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- The cognitive burden will be decreased.
- You will have improved quality of life.
- You won’t be frustrated because you can’t hear (at least, not as frequently).
In other words, it’ll be simpler to hear your favorite shows, hang out with your favorite friends, and take care of your favorite brain.
Reward vs. cost
There was a time when AI was not available in the vast majority of hearing aids due to the costs involved. After all, the device itself must do some intense calculations (an algorithm, after all, is essentially a very elegant math problem). However, in part because of the preponderance of the technology, prices for AI hearing devices are beginning to go down.
This doesn’t mean that every hearing aid you want might have AI, or even that those hearing aids will necessarily be less expensive in the near future. Clearly, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But AI functions are becoming more readily obtainable and prevalent.
Deciding what’s best for you
For someone who lives alone and doesn’t go out very much, hearing aids with AI might not be worth the additional cost. But AI makes a huge difference for individuals who are socially involved and go out into noisy situations a lot.
Hearing aids with AI are also helpful for someone who is quickly worn out in social scenarios where the chore of keeping up with conversations using a traditional hearing aid is fatiguing. AI-powered hearing aids decrease the listener’s fatigue and make social situations more enjoyable. AI technology can also send alerts to your phone when the doorbell rings, alert others that you have fallen, and track your steps. Hearing aids will continue to improve as AI technology improves.
Want to see how AI hearing aids can help you? Make an appointment with us right away.