When somebody talks about artificial intelligence (AI), it might arouse thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But nowadays, AI is more science than fiction. This is especially true with regard to hearing aids. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that simply 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 makes use of data inputs to produce new results. AI is able to use an algorithm to engage in a type of learning called “machine learning”. As soon as the algorithm is working properly, there’s no need to “program” the AI to generate each individual result.
In the case of hearing aids, AI algorithms can help your hearing aids adapt to your personal requirements depending on your behaviors, lifestyle, habits, and level of hearing loss. 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?
At first, this could seem a bit abstract. Hearing aids do seem to have a straightforward function, after all. How can things be improved by adding AI to the mix? Well, picture a recording studio with the soundboard loaded with buttons and knobs. (Perhaps you’ve seen them in movies.) There’s a little tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Better audio quality can be attained by adjusting these settings. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are changed automatically without needing you to do anything.
These smart devices use a deep neural network to imitate human brain responses. As a result of this, these hearing aids respond in real-time to situations without being programmed to do so.
This is the same technology that lets streaming services recommend movies based on your viewing history, though it most likely sounds like futuristic technology initially. Newer cars utilize this technology to help you drive more safely and your emAIl provider utilizes it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. The more you utilize these devices, the more efficient they become at making correct decisions.
New improvements in AI hearing aids
These days, hearing aids are incorporating multiple brand new improvements in AI to help you hear even better. Some of the best instances include the following:
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were definitely tougher during the pandemic when everybody was wearing a facemask. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping people with hearing aids hear better and stay safe simultaneously.
- Edge mode: This is a user activated, AI assist mode. Basically, you can initiate something called edge mode whenever you’re having a tough time hearing. This then triggers the AI algorithm and the algorithm will start working to make your hearing clearer.
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a number of loud or echo-prone locations. A hearing aid can have a difficult time with cross-talk, for example. But with an AI filtering out non-essential information, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the person across from you is saying, even in a crowded or noisy setting.
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you walk into has its own unique acoustic characteristics. Your hearing aids can deal with some of those properties, but others it can’t handle very well. You will hear better in almost any environment with AI technology making effective automatic adjustments.
Hearing aid makers and scientists are continuously developing new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the beginning.
AI for the field of audiology
These days, AI has sort of become something of a buzzword. Everybody’s heard it, which is good, but the difficulty is that AI does different things depending on the contexts. So when it comes to the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
Making hearing aids even more helpful for patients is one of the first and most evident things that researchers are tackling. This research includes new technologies, including deep neural networks and machine learning. But hearing aids aren’t all there is to it. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are some things that AI will likely do in the future.
As the technology grows and becomes more reliable, patients can expect to find artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
The advantages of AI-assisted hearing aids
AI is being incorporated into hearing aids not because it’s the hot new fad, unlike other industries. Some considerable benefits to patients are provided by these machine learning algorithms. 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. So the clarity of sound users hear will be more in their control. And this usually 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. If there is 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 hydrating more.
- Social engagement: Studies have found that individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful with regard to managing their social involvement. This is most likely because the speech they hear is clearer in a wider variety of environments. With that being said, it’s not completely clear that AI is the deciding factor in keeping your social life afloat. Most likely, it simply helps those who are already social better preserve 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 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.
What this means for patients
These benefits frequently lead to real-world advantages for individuals who use these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you were at a party having a conversation. If you had an older-style hearing aid, it would just boost the volume up. And sadly, background noise also gets boosted making it difficult to hear voices. With AI, the hearing aid can listen to the noise around you and respond the way your brain would, lowering background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.
AI will create a location-by-location program to deal with the various kinds of sounds it picks up. These algorithms help when you go back 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.
Some of the other practical benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- You will have improved quality of life.
- The cognitive load will be decreased.
- You will feel less aggravated because you will be able to hear better.
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 the vast majority of hearing aids owing to the costs involved. An algorithm is, after all, an intricate math equation. However, in part because of the preponderance of the technology, prices for AI hearing aids 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 automatically 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.
Figuring out what choice is best for you
Hearing aids with AI might be overkill for someone who lives by themselves and stays home a lot. To someone who is socially active and finds themselves in conditions with many competing sounds, however, it makes a huge difference.
For someone who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets exhausted easily in social scenarios, AI hearing aids would be very helpful. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less exhausted 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 improve, hearing aids will continue to as well.
How can AI technology help you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.