When someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI), it may arouse thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But nowadays, AI is more science than fiction. With regard to hearing aids, this is especially true. The times when hearing aids merely increased the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone for good. Modern-day, high-end hearing aids utilize AI.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is a type of technology that utilizes complex algorithms to generate new results from inputs of data. 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 specific result because the algorithm does that by itself.
Depending on the amount of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make adjustments 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 you hear better with AI?
This might seem a bit abstract at first. Hearing aids do seem to have a basic function, after all. How can things be enhanced by adding AI to the mix? Well, you know that row of big knobs and buttons that people use to mix music in recording studios? (Perhaps you’ve seen them in movies.) There’s a tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Better quality of sound can be achieved by adjusting these settings. AI-powered hearing aids move these digital dials and switches automatically, improving the way you hear without any hassle on your part.
These smart devices use a rich 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 probably 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 use these devices, the more reliable they become at making correct decisions.
New advancements in AI hearing aids
Hearing aids these days are helping you hear even better with new advancements in AI technology. Here are a few of the best examples:
- Acoustic environment classification: Distinctive audio properties come with each specific room you go into. Some of those properties are helpful for your hearing aids; some are bad for your hearing aids. You will hear better in almost any setting with AI technology making practical automatic adjustments.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were undoubtedly 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.
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a variety of loud or echo-prone locations. Cross talk, for instance, can often be difficult on a hearing aid. But with an AI filtering out non-essential information, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the individual across from you is saying, even in a crowded or noisy setting.
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be activated by the user. Basically, you can initiate something known as 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.
Hearing aid manufacturers and scientists are continuously developing new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg.
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 lead to confusion. So with regard to the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
First off, it means that scientists are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more beneficial to patients. New technologies, like machine learning and deep neural networks, are a big part of 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 most likely do in the future.
As the technology expands and becomes more reliable, patients can expect to find artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
The advantages of AI-assisted hearing aids
In contrast to some other industries, AI is not being integrated into hearing aids simply because it’s the hot new thing. Some considerable benefits to patients are provided by these machine learning algorithms. Here are a few of those benefits:
- 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. In some situations, 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 data easier to interpret, helping you know when you should be exercising more, eating better, or just drinking more water.
- Social engagement: When it comes to managing social interaction, people who use AI-assisted hearing aids tend to be more successful, according to some studies. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide variety of settings, which most likely accounts for better social interaction. 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.
- 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.
- You have more control over how you hear: You can turn on AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing aids. So the quality of sound users hear will be more in their control. And this often translates into hearing better more often.
How does this affect patients?
These benefits often 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 learns to recognize sounds and creates a location-by-location program. If you go back to a specific location or sound profile, AI can activate these algorithms. In order to better identify and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with everyday sounds.
Here are some other practical advantages to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- The cognitive burden will be decreased.
- You won’t be aggravated because you can’t hear (at least, not as frequently).
- Your quality of life will get 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 available in most hearing aids until recently. An algorithm is, after all, a complex 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 might have AI, or even that those hearing aids will automatically be less costly in the near future. Obviously, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But AI functions are becoming more readily available and prevalent.
Figuring out what choice is best for you
Hearing aids with AI may be too much for someone who lives by themselves and stays home a lot. But AI makes a huge difference for people who are socially active and go out into noisy situations a lot.
For somebody who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets exhausted easily in social scenarios, AI hearing aids would be really helpful. 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. As technology and AI improve, hearing aids will continue to as well.
How can AI technology help you? Make an appointment with us right away.