You might think of your favorite sci-fi movie when somebody starts talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But nowadays, AI is more science than just fiction. When it comes to hearing aids, this is especially true. The times when hearing aids merely amplified 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 uses sophisticated algorithms to produce new results from inputs of data. AI is able to use an algorithm to take part in a kind of learning known as “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 modifications depending on your behaviors and your requirements. This makes your hearing aid more successful at improving your hearing.
How can AI help hearing aids work better?
This might feel a little abstract initially. After all, hearing aids seem to have a pretty basic function. How can adding AI to the situation enhance things? Well, picture a recording studio with the soundboard loaded with switches and dials. (You’ve most likely seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid contains one of those! (It’s minuscule.) Better quality of sound can be achieved by modifying 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 rich neural network to imitate human brain responses. Because of this, these hearing aids react in real-time to situations without being programmed to deal with them.
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. AI is also found in cars and the emails auto-sorted into your inbox. These devices become more adept at making appropriate choices the more you use them.
AI hearing aids – new advances
Hearing aids these days are helping you hear even better with new developments in AI technology. Here are a few of the best examples:
- Edge mode: This is a user initiated, AI assist mode. Basically, you can activate something known as edge mode whenever you’re having a hard time hearing. This then initiates the AI algorithm and the algorithm will get to work trying to make your hearing clearer.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everyone was wearing masks, which was good, but definitely made talking with a hearing aid more challenging. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping those with hearing aids hear better and remain safe simultaneously.
- Noisy room filters: If you’re in a location that has lots of echoes, or is overly loud, new AI technology algorithms can separate out room noise. A hearing aid can have a hard 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 person across from you is saying, even in a packed or noisy setting.
- Acoustic environment classification: Distinctive audio qualities come with each specific room you go into. Some of those qualities are good for your hearing aids; some are negative for your hearing aids. With AI technology, your hearing aid can effectively make automatic adjustments that let you hear better in almost any environment.
Hearing aid producers and scientists are constantly developing new hearing aid technologies, so this might be just the beginning.
How is AI utilized in the discipline of audiology?
AI has become a bit of a buzzword these days. Depending on the context, AI does different things, which can occasionally 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 tackling. New technologies, like machine learning and deep neural networks, are a big part of this research. But it’s not just hearing aids. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are some things that AI will likely do in the future.
As the technology develops and becomes more dependable, patients can expect to find 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 hot new fad, in contrast to other industries. These machine learning algorithms offer some significant benefits to patients. Among those benefits are the following:
- Social engagement: With regard to managing social interaction, individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids are likely to be more successful, according to some research. This is probably because the speech they hear is clearer in a larger number of settings. But that doesn’t automatically mean AI will make-or-break your social life. It probably just helps people better maintain the relationships they already have.
- 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 severity of your tumble. In some cases, these hearing aids may 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 understand, helping you identify when you should be exercising more, eating better, or just drinking more water.
- You have more control over how you hear: You can activate AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing devices. This means hearing aid wearers will have more control over the clarity of sound they hear. And this often translates into hearing better more often.
- Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other array devices can cause feedback in your hearing aids. Machine learning algorithms can help filter out this feedback, so all you hear is the sound you actually want to hear.
How does this affect patients?
For individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits frequently become real-world advantages. 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 impossible 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 generates a location-by-location program. These algorithms help when you return to a particular location or sound profile. 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:
- You will feel less aggravated because you will be able to hear better.
- You will have improved quality of life.
- Your brain will experience a decreased cognitive burden.
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
Because of the costs, AI wasn’t offered in most hearing aids until recent times. After all, the device itself has to perform some intense calculations (an algorithm, of course, is essentially a very elegant math problem). However, partially because of the prevalence of the technology, prices for AI hearing devices 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 necessarily be less costly in the near future. Clearly, patients will still have to make important choices. But, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more prevalent and more widely available.
Deciding what’s best for you
For someone who lives alone and doesn’t go out very much, hearing aids with AI might not be worth the added cost. To somebody who is socially active and finds themselves in situations with many competing sounds, however, it makes a huge difference.
Hearing aids with AI are also practical for someone who is rapidly worn out in social situations where the chore of keeping up with conversations utilizing a traditional hearing aid is fatiguing. AI-powered hearing aids decrease 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.
Want to see how AI hearing aids can help you? Make an appointment with us right away.