When someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI), it might conjure thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But these days, AI is more science than just fiction. With regard to hearing aids, this is especially true. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that merely increase the volume of sounds around you. AI is at the root of modern hearing aids.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a sophisticated computer algorithm that uses data inputs to produce new results. AI is able to use an algorithm to take part in a kind of learning called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t need 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 needs. Your hearing aids will be more effective at increasing your ability to hear as a result.
How can AI help hearing aids work more effectively?
This might feel a bit abstract initially. After all, hearing aids seem to have a fairly straightforward function. How can things be enhanced by adding AI to the mix? Well, you know that row of big knobs and switches that people utilize to mix music in recording studios? (Perhaps you’ve seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid contains one of those! (It’s minuscule.) Altering these settings can provide better quality sound. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are adjusted automatically without needing you to do anything.
These smart devices use a rich neural network to imitate human brain responses. Without even being programmed to, these devices react to real-time conditions because of this.
This is the same technology that allows streaming services to suggest movies according to your viewing history, though it probably sounds like futuristic technology initially. AI is also encountered in cars and the emails auto-sorted into your inbox. The more you make use of these devices, the more efficient they become at making correct decisions.
New advancements in AI hearing aids
These days, hearing aids are integrating several brand new improvements in AI to help you hear even better. Some of the most relevant instances include the following:
- 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 hard on a hearing aid. But even in a loud setting, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the person across from you is talking about as AI filters out unwanted information.
- Acoustic environment classification: Distinctive audio properties come with each specific room you go into. Some of those properties are helpful for your hearing aids; some are bad for your hearing aids. You will hear better in nearly any environment with AI technology making effective automatic adjustments.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everyone was wearing masks, which was good, but certainly made conversations with a hearing aid more challenging. You can stay safer and hear better simultaneously as AI algorithms can amplify the voice behind the facemask.
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be activated by the user. Basically, you can initiate something called edge mode whenever you’re having a hard time hearing. This then activates the AI algorithm and the algorithm will start working to make your hearing clearer.
Hearing aid makers and scientists are continuously developing new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg.
How is AI employed in the discipline of audiology?
These days, AI has kind of become a bit of a buzzword. Depending on the context, AI does different things, which can sometimes result in confusion. So with regard to the field of audiology, how does AI fit in.
Making hearing aids even more beneficial for patients is one of the first and most obvious things that researchers are tackling. New technologies, such as machine learning and deep neural networks, are a big part of this research. But hearing aids aren’t all there is to it. In the future, AI might be able to help with detecting hearing loss or even helping patients avoid future hearing loss.
As the technology grows and becomes more reliable, patients can expect to find 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, unlike other industries. Some significant advantages to patients are offered by these machine learning algorithms. Among those advantages are the following:
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re wearing a hearing aid and you take a fall, your AI-assisted device can detect the severity of your fall. In the event of a serious fall, these hearing aids can, in some situations, notify the Authorities. AI can also make your health data easier to understand, helping you know when you should be exercising more, eating healthier, or just drinking more water.
- Social engagement: With regard to managing social interaction, individuals who utilize 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 spectrum of settings, which likely accounts for better social interaction. But that doesn’t automatically mean AI will make-or-break your social life. It most likely just helps people better preserve the relationships they already have.
- 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 myriad 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.
- You have more control over how you hear: You can turn on AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing devices. This means hearing aid users will have more control over the clarity of sound they hear. And this usually means a better all-around hearing experience.
How does this affect patients?
These benefits frequently lead to real-world advantages for those who use 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. An AI hearing aid is intelligent and will be able to identify and boost a person’s voice while lowering undesired noise.
AI learns to identify sounds and creates a location-by-location algorithm. These algorithms help when you return to a particular location or sound profile. Other hearing aids with AI are programmed with everyday sounds in order to better define and amplify important sounds.
Here are some other practical benefits to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- Your brain will experience a lower cognitive burden.
- You will have improved quality of life.
- You will feel less aggravated because you will be able to hear better.
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
There was a time when AI was not offered in most hearing aids owing to the costs involved. After all, the device itself has to perform some intense calculations (an algorithm, after all, is basically a very elegant math problem). But prices are decreasing, partially due to the prevalence of the technology.
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. Obviously, patients will still have to make important choices. However, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more prevalent and more readily available.
Deciding what’s best for you
Hearing aids with AI might be overkill for somebody who lives by themselves and stays put a lot. To somebody who is socially involved and finds themselves in situations with many competing sounds, however, it makes a huge difference.
For somebody who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets exhausted easily in social scenarios, AI hearing aids would be really helpful. Social situations are easier 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. Hearing aids will keep improving as AI technology improves.
How can AI technology help you? Make an appointment with us right away.