You may think of your favorite sci-fi movie when someone starts talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But these days, AI is more science than fiction. When it comes to hearing aids, this is especially true. The days when hearing aids merely amplified the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone for good. Contemporary, high-end hearing aids use AI.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is a sophisticated computer algorithm that makes use of data inputs to produce new results. In doing this, AI algorithms take part in a type of learning, appropriately called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t have to program every specific result because the algorithm does that by itself.
Depending on the extent of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make modifications 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 little abstract initially. After all, hearing aids seem to have a fairly basic function. How can things be improved by adding AI to the mix? Well, you know that row of big dials and buttons that people use to mix music in recording studios? (Perhaps you’ve seen them in movies.) There’s a tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Better sound quality can be attained by modifying these settings. AI-powered hearing aids change these digital dials and switches automatically, enhancing the way you hear without any hassle by you.
This AI hearing aid imitates human brain response using a deep neural network. As a result of this, these hearing aids respond in real-time to situations without being programmed to do so.
This is the same technology that lets streaming services recommend movies based on your viewing history, though it most likely sounds like futuristic technology at first. Newer cars use this technology to help you drive more safely and your email supplier utilizes it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. These devices become more expert at making appropriate choices the more you use them.
New advances in AI hearing aids
Hearing aids these days are helping you hear even better with new developments in AI technology. Here are a few of the best examples:
- Edge mode: This is a user activated, AI assist mode. Basically, you can initiate something called edge mode whenever you’re having a hard time hearing. When this is initiated AI will begin working on clearing up what you’re hearing.
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a number of loud or echo-prone settings. Cross talk, for example, can often be difficult on a hearing aid. 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 packed or noisy setting.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were definitely tougher during the pandemic when everybody was wearing a facemask. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping individuals with hearing aids hear better and remain safe at the same time.
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you go into has its own distinctive acoustic characteristics. Your hearing aids can deal with some of those properties, but others it can’t handle very well. You will hear better in just about any environment with AI technology making practical automatic adjustments.
This is probably only the start of the developments scientists and manufacturers are making.
How is AI utilized in the field of audiology?
AI has become somewhat of a buzzword these days. Everyone’s heard it, which is good, but the difficulty is that AI does different things depending on the contexts. So, what does AI mean for the discipline of audiology?
Making hearing aids even more helpful for patients is one of the first and most obvious things that researchers are working on. New technologies, including machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But it isn’t just hearing aids. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are some things that AI will likely do in the future.
Patients will see AI in more and more of their devices as the technology becomes more dependable.
AI-assisted hearing aids and their advantages
AI is being incorporated into hearing aids not because it’s the popular new fad, unlike other industries. Some considerable benefits to patients are offered by these machine learning algorithms. Among those benefits are the following:
- Social engagement: In terms of dealing with social interaction, individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids are likely to be more successful, according to some research. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide array of settings, which likely accounts for better social interaction. But that doesn’t necessarily 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: Many AI-assisted hearing aids give you the option to turn off those algorithms. This means hearing aid wearers will have more control over the clarity of sound they hear. And this usually means a better overall hearing experience.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re using a hearing aid and you take a fall, your AI-assisted device can determine the seriousness of your fall. If there is a serious fall, these hearing aids can, in some situations, alert the Authorities. Should you be hydrating more, exercising more, eating better? AI can make your health information easier to interpret.
- Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other array devices can cause feedback in your hearing aids. Machine learning algorithms can help filter out this feedback, so all you hear is the sound you actually want to hear.
How does this affect patients?
These benefits frequently become real-world advantages for those with these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you were at a party having a discussion. An older hearing aid would make everything louder. And sadly, background noise also gets boosted making it difficult to hear voices. An AI hearing aid is intelligent and will be capable of identifying and boosting a person’s voice while dulling undesired noise.
AI will create a location-by-location algorithm to address the various kinds of sounds it detects. If you go back to a specific location or sound profile, AI can initiate these programs. In order to better define and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with everyday 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 aggravated because you can’t hear (at least, not as often).
In other words, it’ll be simpler to follow along with your favorite shows, hang out with your favorite friends, and take care of your favorite brain.
Cost vs. reward
Because of the costs, AI wasn’t available in most hearing aids until recent times. After all, the device itself must perform 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 starting to go down.
That’s not saying that those hearing aids will definitely come down in price soon and you still may end up wanting a model that doesn’t include AI functionality. Obviously, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more prevalent and more readily available.
Finding out what option is best for you
For somebody who lives alone and doesn’t go out very much, hearing aids with AI might not be worth the added cost. To someone who is socially active and finds themselves in scenarios with lots of competing sounds, however, it makes a big difference.
For someone who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets exhausted easily in social situations, AI hearing aids would be very helpful. Social situations are simpler and the user will feel less fatigued 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.
Want to see how AI hearing aids can work for you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.