You may think of your favorite sci-fi movie when somebody mentions artificial intelligence (AI). But today, AI is a reality that we all need to get used to. With regard to hearing aids, this is especially true. 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 contemporary hearing aids.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is a form of technology that makes use of sophisticated algorithms to generate new results from inputs of data. AI is able to use an algorithm to take part in a kind of learning called “machine learning”. Once the algorithm is working properly, there’s no need to “program” the AI to generate each separate result.
In the instance 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 successful at improving your hearing.
How can AI help hearing aids work better?
This might feel a bit abstract initially. Hearing aids do seem to have a basic function, after all. How can things be enhanced by adding AI to the mix? Well, picture a recording studio with the soundboard loaded with buttons and dials. (Maybe you’ve seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid has one of those! (It’s tiny.) Better sound quality can be achieved by altering these settings. AI-powered hearing aids move these digital dials and switches automatically, improving the way you hear without any hassle by you.
This AI hearing aid mimics human brain response using a rich neural network. Without even being programmed to, these devices react to real-time conditions because of this.
This is the same technology that lets streaming services suggest movies based on your viewing history, though it probably sounds like space-aged technology at first. Newer cars use 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.
New advancements in AI hearing aids
Hearing aids these days are helping you hear even better with new advancements in AI technology. Some of the best instances include the following:
- Noisy room filters: If you’re in a location that has a lot of echoes, or is excessively loud, new AI technology algorithms can filter out room noise. A hearing aid can have a difficult time with cross-talk, for example. But with an AI filtering out non-imperative information, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the individual across from you is saying, even in a crowded or noisy setting.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were definitely harder 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.
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be activated by the user. Essentially, when you have a difficult time hearing, you can activate something called Edge Mode. When this is initiated AI will begin working on cleaning up what you’re hearing.
- Acoustic environment classification: Unique audio properties come with each specific room you walk into. Some of those properties are helpful for your hearing aids; some are negative for your hearing aids. You will hear better in almost any environment with AI technology making practical automatic adjustments.
This is likely only the start of the advancements scientists and manufacturers are making.
How is AI utilized in the discipline of audiology?
These days, AI has sort of become a bit of a buzzword. Depending on the context, AI does different things, which can sometimes cause confusion. So with regard to the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
Making hearing aids even more useful for patients is one of the first and most evident things that researchers are working on. This research includes new technologies, including deep neural networks and machine learning. But hearing aids aren’t the whole story. In the future, AI might be able to help with detecting hearing loss or even helping patients prevent future hearing loss.
As the technology develops and becomes more reliable, patients can expect to see artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
AI-assisted hearing aids and their advantages
AI is being incorporated into hearing aids not because it’s the popular new fad, in contrast to other industries. 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 array devices can cause your hearing aids to feedback. This feedback can be filtered out by machine learning algorithms so the sound you want to hear is the only sound you will hear.
- 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 clarity of sound they hear. And this often translates into 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. If there is a serious fall, these hearing aids can, in some situations, notify the Authorities. Should you be drinking more water, exercising more, eating healthier? AI can make your health data easier to understand.
- Social engagement: Studies have shown that people who use AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful when it comes to managing their social involvement. This is probably because the speech they hear is clearer in a larger number of settings. But that doesn’t necessarily mean AI will make-or-break your social life. It most likely just helps people better preserve the relationships they already have.
How does this impact patients?
For individuals with AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits frequently result in real-world advantages. Imagine you were at a party having a discussion. If you had 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. 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 generate a location-by-location program to deal with the various types of sounds it picks up. If you go back to a particular location or sound profile, AI can initiate these algorithms. In order to better identify 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 brain will have a reduced cognitive load.
- You won’t be frustrated because you can’t hear (at least, not as often).
- Your quality of life will get better.
In other words, it’ll be simpler to hear your favorite shows, hang out with your favorite people, and take care of your favorite brain.
Reward vs. cost
There was a time when AI wasn’t available in the vast majority of hearing aids because of the costs involved. After all, the device itself must perform some extreme calculations (an algorithm, of course, is basically a very fancy math problem). But prices are coming down, partly due to the prevalence of the technology.
That isn’t saying that those hearing aids will absolutely come down in price soon and you still might wind up choosing a model that doesn’t include AI functionality. Clearly, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more common and more readily available.
Figuring out what choice is best for you
For someone who lives alone and doesn’t go out much, hearing aids with AI might not be worth the additional cost. To someone who is socially involved and finds themselves in situations with lots of competing sounds, however, it makes a huge difference.
Hearing aids with AI are also useful for somebody who is quickly worn out in social situations where the chore of keeping up with conversations utilizing a traditional hearing aid is exhausting. Social situations are simpler and the user will feel less tired with AI hearing aids. 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. Hearing aids will continue to improve as AI technology improves.
How can AI technology help you? Make an appointment with us right away.