When somebody talks about artificial intelligence (AI), it may arouse thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But today, AI is a reality that we all need to get accustomed to. This is especially true with regard to hearing aids. The days when hearing aids merely amplified the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone forever. Modern, high-end hearing aids utilize AI.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a sophisticated computer algorithm that utilizes data inputs to generate new results. AI is capable of using an algorithm to participate in a kind of learning called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t need to program every specific result because the algorithm does that on its own.
In the case of hearing aids, AI algorithms can help your hearing aids adjust to your personal needs based on your behaviors, lifestyle, habits, and degree of hearing loss. This makes your hearing aid more effective at improving your hearing.
How does AI help hearing aids work more effectively?
Initially, this may seem a bit abstract. After all, hearing aids seem to have a rather basic function. How can adding AI to the situation enhance things? 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.) There’s a little tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Better quality of sound can be obtained by altering these settings. AI-powered hearing aids change these digital dials and switches automatically, improving how you hear without any effort on your part.
These smart devices use a rich neural network to re-create human brain responses. Without even being programmed to, these devices react to real-time conditions because of this.
This is the same technology that lets streaming services recommend movies according to your viewing history, though it probably sounds like futuristic technology initially. Newer cars use this technology to help you drive more safely and your email provider utilizes it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. These devices become more adept at making appropriate choices the more you use them.
AI hearing aids – new advances
Hearing aids these days are helping you hear even better with new advancements in AI technology. Here are some of the best examples:
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were certainly tougher during the pandemic when everybody was wearing a facemask. You can remain safer and hear better at the same time as AI algorithms can amplify the voice beneath the facemask.
- 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 individual across from you is saying, even in a crowded or noisy environment.
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you go into has its own distinctive acoustic characteristics. Some of those properties are helpful for your hearing aids; some are bad for your hearing aids. With AI technology, your hearing aid can effortlessly make automatic adjustments that allow you to hear better in nearly any environment.
- Edge mode: This is a user initiated, AI assist mode. Essentially, when you have a difficult time hearing, you can activate something known as Edge Mode. This then initiates the AI algorithm and the algorithm will start working to make your hearing clearer.
Hearing aid producers and scientists are constantly innovating new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the beginning.
AI for the discipline of audiology
These days, AI has kind of become something of a buzzword. Depending on the context, AI does different things, which can in some cases result in confusion. So when it comes to the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
First, it means that scientists are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more useful to patients. 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 diagnosing hearing loss or even helping patients avoid future hearing loss.
As the technology grows and becomes more dependable, patients can expect to find artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
AI-assisted hearing aids and their benefits
Unlike some other industries, AI is not being integrated into hearing aids simply because it’s the popular new fad. These machine learning algorithms provide some considerable advantages to patients. Here are a few of those benefits:
- Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other myriad devices can cause your hearing aids to feedback. Machine learning algorithms can help filter out this feedback, so all you hear is the sound you actually want to 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 quality of sound they hear. And this often means hearing better more frequently.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: If you accidentally fall while you’re wearing your hearing aids, your AI-assisted devices may be able to detect the significance and seriousness of your tumble. In the event of a serious fall, these hearing aids can, in some cases, notify the Authorities. AI can also make your health data easier to interpret, helping you identify when you should be moving more, eating healthier, or just hydrating more.
- Social engagement: In terms of managing 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 variety of settings, which likely accounts for better social interaction. But that doesn’t necessarily mean AI will make-or-break your social life. It most likely just helps people better maintain the relationships they already have.
How does this impact patients?
These benefits frequently become real-world advantages for those who use these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you were at a party having a discussion. If you were using an older-style hearing aid, it would just boost the volume up. This isn’t helpful because the conversation you actually care about will get drowned out by background noise. An AI hearing aid is intelligent and will be capable of identifying and boosting a person’s voice while dulling undesired noise.
AI will generate a location-by-location program to address the various kinds of sounds it detects. If you go back to a specific location or sound profile, AI can activate these algorithms. In order to better define and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with day-to-day sounds.
Some of the other practical benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- You will have improved quality of life.
- You won’t be frustrated because you can’t hear (at least, not as often).
- The cognitive burden will be decreased.
You will be able to spend time 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 due to the costs involved. After all, the device itself has to perform some intense calculations (an algorithm, of course, is essentially a very elegant math problem). But prices are decreasing, partly 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 costly in the near future. Obviously, patients will still need to make important choices. But, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more common and more widely available.
Deciding what’s best for you
Hearing aids with AI might be too much for someone who lives by themselves and stays home a lot. But AI makes a big difference for individuals who are socially involved and go out into noisy situations a lot.
Hearing aids with AI are also practical for someone who is quickly worn out in social scenarios where the task of keeping up with conversations utilizing a traditional hearing aid is fatiguing. AI-powered hearing aids decrease the listener’s fatigue and make social situations more enjoyable. 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.
How can AI technology help you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.