When somebody talks about artificial intelligence (AI), it might arouse thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But today, AI is a reality that we all need to get accustomed to. When it comes to hearing aids, this is especially true. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that simply raise the volume of sounds around you. AI is at the root of modern hearing aids.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a complex computer algorithm that uses data inputs to generate new results. AI is able to use an algorithm to engage in a kind of learning called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t have to program every individual result because the algorithm does that by itself.
In the instance of hearing aids, AI algorithms can help your hearing aids adapt to your personal needs depending on your behaviors, lifestyle, habits, and degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids will be more effective at improving your ability to hear because of this.
How does AI help hearing aids work better?
This may feel a little abstract at first. After all, hearing aids seem to have a rather straightforward function. How can adding AI to the mix improve things? Well, picture a recording studio with the soundboard loaded with buttons and knobs. (You’ve likely seen them in movies.) There’s a little tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Better quality of sound can be attained by adjusting these settings. 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. As a result of this, these hearing aids react in real-time to conditions without being programmed to do so.
This might sound like space-age science, but it’s the same fundamental technology that allows streaming services to recommend programming based on your viewing history. AI is also encountered in cars and the emails auto-sorted into your inbox. The more you use these devices, the more efficient they become at making proper decisions.
AI hearing aids – new innovations
Hearing aids these days are helping you hear even better with new advancements in AI technology. Some of the most relevant examples include the following:
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were undoubtedly harder during the pandemic when everyone was wearing a facemask. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping people with hearing aids hear better and stay safe at the same time.
- 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 hard time with cross-talk, for instance. But even in a noisy setting, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the individual across from you is talking about as AI filters out unwanted information.
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be initiated by the user. In essence, when you have a hard time hearing, you can activate something known as Edge Mode. This then triggers the AI algorithm and the algorithm will get to work trying to make your hearing clearer.
- Acoustic environment classification: Unique audio qualities come with each specific room you walk into. Some of those qualities are good for your hearing aids; some are bad for your hearing aids. You will hear better in almost any setting with AI technology making effective automatic adjustments.
This is likely only the beginning of the developments scientists and manufacturers are making.
AI for the field of audiology
These days, AI has kind of become something of a buzzword. Everybody’s heard it, which is good, but the trouble 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 beneficial for patients is one of the first and most evident things that researchers are working on. New technologies, including machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But hearing aids aren’t the whole story. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are a couple of the things that AI will probably do in the future.
As the technology expands and becomes more dependable, patients can expect to find artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
The advantages of AI-assisted hearing aids
AI is being integrated into hearing aids not because it’s the popular new fad, unlike other industries. Some significant advantages to patients are offered by these machine learning algorithms. Among those advantages are the following:
- Social engagement: Studies have found that those who wear AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful when it comes to dealing with their social involvement. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide array of settings, which probably accounts for better social interaction. With that being said, it’s not entirely clear that AI is the deciding factor in keeping your social life afloat. It probably just helps people better maintain the relationships they already have.
- 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. Machine learning algorithms can help filter out this feedback, so all you will hear is the sound you actually want to hear.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re wearing a hearing aid and you take a fall, your AI-assisted device can determine the severity of your fall. In some cases, these hearing aids might be programmed to automatically alert authorities or loved ones in the event of a major fall. AI can also make your health information easier to interpret, helping you know when you should be exercising more, eating better, or just hydrating more.
- You have more control over how you hear: You can activate AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing aids. This means hearing aid wearers will have more control over the quality of sound they hear. And this usually means a better all-around hearing experience.
How does this affect patients?
These benefits often become real-world advantages for people 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. And sadly, background noise also gets boosted making it difficult to hear voices. An AI hearing aid is intelligent and will be capable of identifying and boosting a person’s voice while lowering undesired noise.
AI will generate a location-by-location program to deal with the various kinds of sounds it picks up. If you return to a particular location or sound profile, AI can initiate these programs. Other hearing aids with AI are programmed with day-to-day sounds in order to better identify and amplify important sounds.
Here are some other practical advantages to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- You will have improved quality of life.
- Your brain will have a lower cognitive burden.
- You will feel less frustrated because you will be able to hear better.
You will be able to hang out with friends again, watch your favorite shows, and take good care of your brain, in other words.
Reward vs. cost
Because of the costs, AI wasn’t offered in most hearing aids until recent times. After all, the device itself must perform some intense calculations (an algorithm, of course, is essentially a very fancy math problem). But prices are decreasing, partially 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 expensive in the near future. Obviously, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But AI features are becoming more readily available and prevalent.
Finding out what choice is best for you
For someone who lives alone and doesn’t go out very much, hearing aids with AI may not be worth the extra cost. But AI makes a huge difference for people who are socially involved 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. AI-powered hearing aids reduce the listener’s fatigue 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. As technology and AI improve, hearing aids will continue to as well.
How can AI technology help you? Call us to schedule an appointment!