When somebody talks about artificial intelligence (AI), it may conjure thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But these days, AI is more science than fiction. With regard to hearing aids, this is particularly true. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that merely raise the volume of sounds around you. Contemporary, high-end hearing aids utilize AI.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a sophisticated computer algorithm that uses data inputs to generate new results. In doing this, AI algorithms participate in a kind of learning, aptly called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t have to program every specific result because the algorithm does that on its own.
Depending on the extent 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 little abstract initially. Hearing aids do seem to have a basic function, after all. How can adding AI to the mix enhance things? Well, you know that row of big dials and switches that people use to mix music in recording studios? (You’ve probably seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid includes one of those! (It’s minuscule.) Better quality of sound can be obtained by modifying these settings. AI-powered hearing aids change these digital dials and switches automatically, improving the way you hear without any work on your part.
This AI hearing aid imitates human brain response using a rich neural network. Without even being programmed to, these devices respond to real-time situations because of this.
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. AI is also encountered 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 innovations
Hearing aids these days are helping you hear even better with new developments in AI technology. Here are some of the best examples:
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were definitely tougher during the pandemic when everybody was wearing a facemask. You can remain safer and hear better simultaneously 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 settings. A hearing aid can have a hard time with cross-talk, for example. But even in a noisy setting, you’ll be capable of hearing more clearly what the person across from you is saying as AI filters out unwanted information.
- Edge mode: This is a user activated, AI assist mode. Basically, when you have a hard time hearing, you can activate something known as Edge Mode. This then initiates the AI algorithm and the algorithm will get to work trying to make your hearing clearer.
- Acoustic environment classification: Distinctive audio qualities come with each individual room you walk 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 corrections that allow you to hear better in nearly any setting.
Hearing aid makers and scientists are constantly innovating new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg.
How is AI utilized in the discipline of audiology?
AI has become a bit of a buzzword these days. Depending on the application, AI does different things, which can sometimes cause confusion. So in terms of the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
First, it means that researchers are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more useful to patients. New technologies, such as machine learning and deep neural networks, are a big part of this research. 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 probably do in the future.
As the technology develops 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 isn’t being integrated into hearing aids simply because it’s the popular new thing. Some considerable benefits to patients are offered by these machine learning algorithms. Here are a few of those benefits:
- 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. Machine learning algorithms can help by filtering out this feedback, so all you will hear is the sound you actually want to hear.
- Social engagement: With regard to dealing with social interaction, individuals who utilize AI-assisted hearing aids are likely to be more successful, according to some research. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide spectrum of settings, which probably accounts for better social interaction. That said, it’s not completely clear that AI is the defining factor in keeping your social life afloat. It probably just helps people better maintain the relationships they already have.
- You have more control over how you hear: Many AI-assisted hearing aids give you the option to turn those algorithms on or off. So the clarity of sound users hear will be more in their control. And this usually translates into hearing better more frequently.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re wearing a hearing aid and you take a tumble, your AI-assisted device can determine the severity of your fall. If there is a severe fall, these hearing aids can, in some cases, notify the Authorities. Should you be hydrating more, exercising more, eating healthier? AI can make your health data easier to understand.
What this means for patients
For individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits often result in real-world advantages. Imagine you were at a party having a discussion. If you were using an older-style hearing aid, it would just crank the volume up. And sadly, background noise also gets boosted making it impossible to hear voices. With AI, the hearing aid can tune in to the noise around you and react the way your brain would, dulling background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.
AI will generate a location-by-location program to address the various kinds of sounds it picks up. These programs 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.
Here are some other practical benefits to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- You will have improved quality of life.
- You won’t be frustrated because you can’t hear (at least, not as often).
- Your brain will experience a decreased cognitive burden.
In other words, it’ll be simpler to follow along with 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 most hearing aids because of the costs involved. After all, the device itself must do some intense calculations (an algorithm, of course, is essentially a very elegant math problem). However, in part because of the prevalence of the technology, prices for AI hearing aids are starting to go down.
That isn’t saying that those hearing aids will absolutely come down in price soon and you still may end up wanting a model that doesn’t include AI functionality. Obviously, patients will still need to make important decisions. But, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more prevalent and more readily available.
Deciding what’s best for you
For somebody 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 big difference.
For someone who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets fatigued easily in social scenarios, AI hearing aids would be really helpful. AI-powered hearing aids decrease the listener’s fatigue and make social situations more enjoyable. 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. 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.