You might think of your favorite sci-fi movie when someone starts talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But today, AI is a reality that we all better get accustomed to. This is particularly true when it comes to hearing aids. The days when hearing aids merely amplified the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone for good. AI is at the root of contemporary hearing aids.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is a type of technology that uses sophisticated algorithms to generate new results from inputs of data. In doing this, AI algorithms participate 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 by itself.
Depending on the degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make adjustments depending on your routines and your requirements. This makes your hearing aid more effective at improving your hearing.
How can AI help hearing aids work better?
This might feel a little 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, 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.) There’s a little tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Changing these settings can produce better quality sound. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are adjusted automatically without requiring you to do anything.
This AI hearing aid mimics human brain response using a rich neural network. Because of this, these hearing aids react in real-time to conditions without being programmed to do so.
This may sound like space-age science, but it’s the same basic technology that allows streaming services to recommend programming based on your viewing history. Newer cars utilize this technology to help you drive more safely and your email supplier uses it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. These devices become more expert at making appropriate choices the more you use them.
AI hearing aids – new innovations
Presently, hearing aids are incorporating multiple brand new advances in AI to help you hear even better. Here are a few of the best examples:
- Edge mode: This is a user initiated, AI assist mode. Essentially, you can activate something known as edge mode whenever you’re having a difficult time hearing. When this is activated AI will begin working on clearing up what you’re hearing.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everyone was wearing masks, which was good, but certainly made conversations with a hearing aid more difficult. You can stay safer and hear better simultaneously as AI algorithms can amplify the voice behind the facemask.
- Acoustic environment classification: Distinctive audio qualities come with each specific room you walk into. Your hearing aids can handle some of those properties, but others it can’t handle very well. With AI technology, your hearing aid can effortlessly make automatic adjustments that allow you to hear better in almost any setting.
- Noisy room filters: If you’re in a setting that has a lot of echoes, or is overly loud, new AI technology algorithms can separate out room noise. Cross talk, for example, can often be difficult on a hearing aid. But with an AI filtering out non-imperative information, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the person across from you is saying, even in a crowded or noisy environment.
This is most likely only the start of the developments scientists and manufacturers are making.
How is AI utilized in the field of audiology?
These days, AI has sort of become a bit of a buzzword. Everyone’s heard it, which is good, but the trouble is that AI does different things depending on the applications. So in terms of the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
First off, it means that researchers are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more beneficial to patients. New technologies, like machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But hearing aids aren’t all there is to it. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are a couple of the things that AI will most likely do in the future.
As the technology develops and becomes more reliable, patients can expect to see artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
The advantages of AI-assisted hearing aids
Unlike some other industries, AI isn’t being integrated into hearing aids just because it’s the hot new fad. Some considerable benefits to patients are provided by these machine learning algorithms. Here are a few of those benefits:
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re using a hearing aid and you take a tumble, your AI-assisted device can detect the seriousness of your fall. In some situations, these hearing aids might be programmed to automatically notify authorities or loved ones in the event of a major fall. AI can also make your health information easier to interpret, helping you identify when you should be moving more, eating better, or just drinking more water.
- You have more control over how you hear: Many AI-assisted hearing devices give you the option to turn those algorithms on or off. This means hearing aid users will have more control over the clarity of sound they hear. And this normally means hearing better more often.
- Social engagement: Studies have revealed that individuals who wear AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful in terms of dealing with their social engagement. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide array of settings, which most likely accounts for better social interaction. But that doesn’t automatically mean AI will make-or-break your social life. Most likely, it simply helps people who are already social better preserve their relationships.
- Helping you listen to devices: Your hearing aid can get feedback from a wide variety of devices, like televisions, cell phones, speaker phones, and a range of other devices. Machine learning algorithms can help filter out this feedback, so all you hear is the sound you actually want to hear.
How does this impact patients?
These benefits often lead to real-world advantages for people who use these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you are having a conversation at a party. If you had 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. An AI hearing aid is intelligent and will be capable of identifying and boosting a person’s voice while lowering unwanted noise.
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 particular location or sound profile. Other hearing aids with AI are programmed with day-to-day sounds in order to better identify and amplify important sounds.
Some of the other practical advantages of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- The cognitive burden will be reduced.
- Your quality of life will get better.
- You will feel less frustrated because you will be able to hear better.
You will be able to hang out with friends again, watch your favorite shows, and take good care of your brain, in other words.
Cost vs. reward
There was a time when AI wasn’t offered in most hearing aids owing to the costs involved. An algorithm is, after all, a complex math equation. However, in part because of the prevalence of the technology, prices for AI hearing devices 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 have AI functionality. Clearly, patients will still need to make important decisions. But AI functions are becoming more widely obtainable and common.
Figuring out what choice is best for you
Hearing aids with AI may be overkill for someone who lives by themselves and stays put a lot. To somebody who is socially involved and finds themselves in conditions with lots of competing sounds, however, it makes a huge difference.
For someone who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets fatigued easily in social situations, AI hearing aids would be very helpful. 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. Hearing aids will keep improving as AI technology improves.
How can AI technology help you? Contact us to make an appointment!