When someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI), it may arouse thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But today, AI is a reality that we all better get used to. When it comes to hearing aids, this is especially true. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that simply increase the volume of sounds around you. Modern, high-end hearing aids use AI.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a type of technology that utilizes sophisticated algorithms to produce new results from inputs of data. In doing this, AI algorithms participate in a kind of learning, appropriately called “machine learning”. As soon as the algorithm is working correctly, there’s no need to “program” the AI to produce each individual result.
Depending on the degree 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 increasing your ability to hear because of this.
How can you hear better with AI?
Initially, this could seem a little abstract. After all, hearing aids seem to have a rather basic 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? (You’ve probably seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid contains one of those! (It’s tiny.) Changing these settings can deliver better sound quality. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are adjusted automatically without requiring you to do anything.
These smart devices use a rich neural network to imitate human brain responses. Because of this, these hearing aids react in real-time to conditions without being programmed to deal with them.
This is the same technology that lets streaming services recommend movies based on your viewing history, though it probably sounds like space-aged technology initially. AI is also encountered in cars and the emails auto-sorted into your inbox. These devices become more expert at making correct decisions the more you use them.
AI hearing aids – new advances
Hearing aids these days are helping you hear even better with new developments in AI technology. Here are some of the best examples:
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be initiated by the user. Basically, when you have a difficult time hearing, you can activate something known as Edge Mode. This then activates the AI algorithm and the algorithm will get to work trying to make your hearing clearer.
- Acoustic environment classification: Distinctive audio properties come with each individual room you go into. Your hearing aids can deal with some of those properties, but others it doesn’t do so well with. With AI technology, your hearing aid can effectively make automatic adjustments that allow you to hear better in almost any setting.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were definitely tougher during the pandemic when everyone was wearing a facemask. You can remain safer and hear better simultaneously as AI algorithms can amplify the voice behind the facemask.
- 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. A hearing aid can have a difficult time with cross-talk, for instance. But even in a noisy environment, you’ll be capable of hearing more clearly what the individual across from you is talking about as AI filters out unwanted information.
This is most likely only the start of the developments scientists and manufacturers are making.
AI for the discipline of audiology
AI has become somewhat 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 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. In the future, AI may be able to help with diagnosing hearing loss or even helping patients avoid future hearing loss.
As the technology grows and becomes more reliable, patients can expect to see artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
The benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids
In contrast to some other industries, AI isn’t being integrated into hearing aids just because it’s the hot new thing. Some considerable advantages to patients are provided by these machine learning algorithms. Among those benefits are the following:
- Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other myriad devices can cause feedback in your hearing aids. Machine learning algorithms can help by filtering out this feedback, so all you hear is the sound you actually want to hear.
- Social engagement: When it comes to managing social interaction, people who use AI-assisted hearing aids tend to be more successful, according to some studies. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide spectrum of settings, which likely accounts for better social engagement. But that doesn’t automatically mean AI will make-or-break your social life. Most likely, it simply helps those who are already social better preserve their relationships.
- 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 wearers will have more control over the clarity of sound they hear. And this normally means a better all-around hearing experience.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: If you happen to fall while you’re wearing your hearing aids, your AI-assisted devices may be able to detect the significance and severity of your tumble. In the event of a severe fall, these hearing aids can, in some cases, notify the Authorities. Should you be drinking more water, exercising more, eating healthier? AI can make your health information easier to interpret.
How does this impact patients?
For individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits frequently translate into real-world advantages. Imagine you were at a party having a conversation. An older hearing aid would make everything louder. This isn’t helpful 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 learns to identify sounds and generates a location-by-location algorithm. These programs help when you go back to a specific 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:
- You won’t be frustrated because you can’t hear (at least, not as often).
- You will have improved quality of life.
- Your brain will have a lower cognitive load.
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
Because of the costs, AI wasn’t available in the majority of hearing aids until recent times. An algorithm is, in fact, an intricate math equation. However, partially 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 may have AI, or even that those hearing aids will necessarily be less pricey in the near future. Obviously, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But AI features are becoming more readily obtainable and common.
Figuring out what option is 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 big difference for individuals who are socially active and go out into loud situations a lot.
For someone who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets fatigued easily in social situations, AI hearing aids would be really helpful. Social situations are simpler and the user will feel less tired 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? Make an appointment with us right away.