You may think of your favorite sci-fi movie when someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI). But today, AI is a reality that we all need to get accustomed to. When it comes to hearing aids, this is especially true. The times when hearing aids simply increased the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone forever. AI is at the root of contemporary hearing aids.
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 doing this, AI algorithms participate in a kind of learning, aptly called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t have to program every individual result because the algorithm does that by itself.
Depending on the amount 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 because of this.
How can AI help hearing aids work more effectively?
Initially, this could seem a little abstract. Hearing aids do seem to have a basic function, after all. How can adding AI to the situation improve things? Well, you know that row of big knobs and buttons 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 tiny.) Altering 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.
This AI hearing aid imitates human brain response using a rich neural network. As a result of this, these hearing aids react in real-time to conditions without being programmed to deal with them.
This might sound like space-age science, but it’s the same fundamental technology that allows streaming services to suggest programming based on your viewing history. AI is also found in cars and the emails auto-sorted into your inbox. The more you utilize these devices, the more efficient they become at making correct decisions.
New advances in AI hearing aids
Hearing aids nowadays are helping you hear even better with new advancements 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 known as edge mode whenever you’re having a tough time hearing. When this is initiated AI will begin working on cleaning up what you’re hearing.
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a variety of loud or echo-prone settings. 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.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were certainly 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 walk into has its own distinctive acoustic characteristics. Your hearing aids can handle some of those properties, but others it can’t handle very well. You will hear better in almost any setting with AI technology making practical automatic adjustments.
This is likely only the beginning of the developments scientists and manufacturers are making.
AI for the discipline of audiology
These days, AI has kind of become a bit of a buzzword. Everybody’s heard it, which is okay, but the difficulty is that AI does different things depending on the applications. So when it comes to the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
First, 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 a big part of 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 prevent future hearing loss.
As the technology grows and becomes more reliable, patients can expect to see artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
AI-assisted hearing aids and their advantages
Unlike some other industries, AI is not being incorporated into hearing aids just because it’s the hot new thing. Some significant advantages to patients are provided by these machine learning algorithms. Among those advantages are the following:
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re using a hearing aid and you take a fall, your AI-assisted device can detect the severity of your fall. If there is a serious fall, these hearing aids can, in some cases, notify the Authorities. Should you be hydrating more, exercising more, eating better? AI can make your health information easier to understand.
- 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 quality of sound they hear. And this usually means hearing better more frequently.
- Social engagement: Studies have shown that people who wear AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful when it comes to managing their social engagement. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide spectrum of settings, which most likely accounts for better social interaction. But that doesn’t necessarily mean AI will make-or-break your social life. Likely, it simply helps people who are already social better maintain their relationships.
- Helping you listen to devices: Your hearing aid can get feedback from lots of devices, like televisions, cell phones, speaker phones, and a range 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.
How does this affect patients?
For individuals with AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits frequently become real-world advantages. Imagine you are having a conversation at a party. An older hearing aid would make everything louder. And sadly, background noise also gets boosted making it impossible 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 recognize sounds and generates a location-by-location program. These algorithms help when you return to a specific location or sound profile. 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:
- Your quality of life will improve.
- The cognitive load will be reduced.
- 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.
Reward vs. cost
Due to the costs, AI wasn’t available in the majority of hearing aids until recently. After all, the device itself has to do some extreme calculations (an algorithm, after all, is basically a very elegant math problem). However, in part because of the prevalence of the technology, prices for AI hearing aids are starting 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. However, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more prevalent and more readily available.
Figuring out what option is best for you
Hearing aids with AI might be too much for someone who lives by themselves and stays put a lot. But AI makes a big difference for individuals who are socially involved and go out into loud situations a lot.
Hearing aids with AI are also practical for somebody who is quickly worn out in social scenarios where the chore of keeping up with conversations using a traditional hearing aid is exhausting. Social situations are easier 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. As technology and AI develop, hearing aids will continue to too.
Want to find out how AI hearing aids can work for you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.