You may think of your favorite sci-fi movie when somebody mentions artificial intelligence (AI). But nowadays, AI is more science than fiction. When it comes to hearing aids, this is particularly true. The times when hearing aids merely boosted the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone for good. Modern, high-end hearing aids use AI.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is a type of technology that makes use of complex algorithms to produce new results from inputs of data. In this way, AI algorithms take part in a type of learning, appropriately called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t have to program every individual result because the algorithm does that on its own.
Depending on the amount of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make modifications depending on your behaviors and your needs. Your hearing aids will be more effective at improving your ability to hear as a result.
How can AI help hearing aids work more effectively?
Initially, this could seem a bit abstract. Hearing aids do seem to have a straightforward function, after all. 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 most likely seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid contains one of those! (It’s tiny.) Changing these settings can provide better quality sound. 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 emulate human brain responses. Because of this, these hearing aids react in real-time to conditions without being programmed to do so.
This is the same technology that allows streaming services to recommend movies based on your viewing history, though it probably sounds like futuristic technology at first. Newer cars utilize this technology to help you drive more safely and your email supplier uses it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. The more you make use of these devices, the more reliable they become at making proper decisions.
AI hearing aids – new advances
Hearing aids nowadays are helping you hear even better with new advancements in AI technology. Here are some of the best examples:
- Noisy room filters: If you’re in a setting that has a lot of echoes, or is extremely loud, new AI technology algorithms can filter out room noise. Cross talk, for example, can often be difficult on a hearing aid. But even in a loud environment, you’ll be capable of hearing more clearly what the person across from you is talking about as AI filters out unwanted information.
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you go into has its own distinctive acoustic properties. Your hearing aids can deal with some of those properties, but others it doesn’t do so well with. You will hear better in just about any setting with AI technology making effective automatic adjustments.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were certainly harder during the pandemic when everybody was wearing a facemask. You can stay safer and hear better at the same time as AI algorithms can amplify the voice beneath the facemask.
- Edge mode: This is a user activated, AI assist mode. Basically, when you have a difficult time hearing, you can activate something called Edge Mode. When this is activated AI will begin working on clearing up what you’re hearing.
This is most likely only the start of the developments scientists and manufacturers are making.
How is AI employed in the discipline of audiology?
AI has become a bit of a buzzword these days. Everybody’s heard it, which is okay, but the trouble is that AI does different things depending on the applications. So when it comes to the field of audiology, how does AI fit in.
First off, it means that researchers are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more useful to patients. New technologies, such as machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But it’s not just hearing aids. In the future, AI might 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
In contrast to some other industries, AI is not being integrated into hearing aids just because it’s the hot new thing. These machine learning algorithms provide some considerable advantages to patients. Among those benefits are the following:
- You have more control over how you hear: You can activate AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing devices. This means hearing aid wearers will have more control over the quality of sound they hear. And this normally means a better overall hearing experience.
- 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 want to hear is the only sound you will hear.
- 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 spectrum of settings, which likely accounts for better social interaction. Having said that, it’s not completely clear that AI is the deciding factor in keeping your social life afloat. It probably just helps people better preserve the relationships they already have.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re using a hearing aid and you take a fall, your AI-assisted device can determine the severity of your fall. In some situations, these hearing aids may be programmed to automatically notify authorities or loved ones if there is a severe fall. AI can also make your health data easier to understand, helping you know when you should be exercising more, eating better, or just hydrating more.
How does this impact patients?
These benefits frequently become real-world advantages for people with these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you were at a party having a conversation. An older hearing aid would raise the volume on everything. 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 dulling unwanted noise.
AI learns to identify sounds and generates a location-by-location algorithm. If you return to a particular location or sound profile, AI can initiate these algorithms. Other hearing aids with AI are programmed with day-to-day sounds in order to better define and amplify important sounds.
Here are some other practical benefits to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- The cognitive burden will be decreased.
- Your quality of life will get better.
- You won’t be frustrated because you can’t hear (at least, not as frequently).
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 was not offered in most hearing aids owing to the costs involved. After all, the device itself has to do some intense calculations (an algorithm, of course, is essentially a very elegant math problem). However, in part because of the prevalence of the technology, prices for AI hearing devices are beginning to go down.
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. Clearly, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. However, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more prevalent and more readily available.
Deciding what’s best for you
For somebody who lives alone and doesn’t go out very much, hearing aids with AI may not be worth the additional cost. To somebody who is socially active and finds themselves in conditions with lots of competing sounds, however, it makes a huge difference.
Hearing aids with AI are also practical for somebody who is rapidly worn out in social scenarios where the chore of keeping up with conversations using a traditional hearing aid is exhausting. AI-powered hearing aids decrease the listener’s exhaustion and make social situations more enjoyable. 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 continue to improve as AI technology improves.
How can AI technology help you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.