When someone talks about artificial intelligence (AI), it may arouse thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But today, AI is a reality that we all need to get accustomed to. This is particularly true when it comes to hearing aids. The times when hearing aids simply amplified the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone for good. AI is at the root of modern hearing aids.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a sophisticated computer algorithm that utilizes data inputs to produce new results. AI is capable of using an algorithm to engage in a kind of learning known as “machine learning”. When the algorithm is working correctly, there’s no need to “program” the AI to produce each individual result.
Depending on the degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make changes depending on your routines and your needs. Your hearing aids will be more effective at increasing your ability to hear as a result.
How can AI help hearing aids work more effectively?
At first, this may seem a little abstract. Hearing aids do seem to have a basic function, after all. How can adding AI to the situation enhance things? Well, picture a recording studio with the soundboard full of switches and knobs. (You’ve likely seen them in movies.) There’s a tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Adjusting these settings can provide better quality sound. AI-powered hearing aids move these digital dials and switches automatically, improving the way you hear without any work on your part.
This AI hearing aid mimics human brain response using a deep neural network. As a result of this, these hearing aids respond in real-time to conditions without being programmed to deal with them.
This may sound like futuristic science, but it’s the same basic technology that allows streaming services to suggest programming according to your viewing history. AI is also found in cars and the emails auto-sorted into your inbox. These devices become more proficient at making appropriate choices the more you use them.
AI hearing aids – new advances
Hearing aids nowadays are helping you hear even better with new developments in AI technology. Here are a few of the best examples:
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be initiated by the user. Basically, when you have a hard time hearing, you can activate something called Edge Mode. This then triggers the AI algorithm and the algorithm will start working to make your hearing clearer.
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a number of loud or echo-prone settings. Cross talk, for example, can often be hard 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 environment.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were certainly tougher during the pandemic when everyone was wearing a facemask. You can remain safer and hear better at the same time as AI algorithms can amplify the voice behind the facemask.
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you go into has its own distinctive acoustic properties. Your hearing aids can deal with some of those properties, but others it can’t handle very well. You will hear better in nearly any environment with AI technology making effective automatic adjustments.
This is most likely only the start of the advancements scientists and manufacturers are making.
AI for the discipline of audiology
These days, AI has kind of become something of a buzzword. Depending on the application, AI does different things, which can sometimes result in confusion. So in terms of the field of audiology, how does AI fit in.
Making hearing aids even more helpful for patients is one of the first and most obvious things that researchers are working on. New technologies, like machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But hearing aids aren’t all there is to it. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are a couple of the things that AI will probably do in the future.
Patients will see AI in more and more of their devices as the technology becomes more dependable.
AI-assisted hearing aids and their advantages
AI is being integrated into hearing aids not because it’s the hot new fad, in contrast to other industries. These machine learning algorithms provide some considerable advantages to patients. Here are a few of those benefits:
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re wearing a hearing aid and you take a fall, your AI-assisted device can detect the seriousness of your fall. In some cases, these hearing aids might be programmed to automatically alert authorities or loved ones if there is a major fall. Should you be drinking more water, exercising more, eating healthier? AI can make your health data easier to understand.
- Social engagement: With regard to dealing with social interaction, individuals who utilize AI-assisted hearing aids tend to be more successful, according to some research. This is likely because the speech they hear is clearer in a wider variety of settings. But that doesn’t necessarily mean AI will make-or-break your social life. Most likely, it simply helps those who are already social better maintain their relationships.
- Helping you listen to devices: Your hearing aid can get feedback from a wide variety of devices, like televisions, cell phones, speaker phones, and a myriad of other devices. 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: You can turn on AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing devices. This means hearing aid users will have more control over the clarity of sound they hear. And this usually means hearing better more frequently.
What this means for patients
For individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits frequently lead to real-world advantages. Imagine you were at a party having a discussion. An older hearing aid would raise the volume on everything. This isn’t practical because the conversation you actually care about will get drowned out by background noise. 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 create a location-by-location algorithm to deal with the various types of sounds it detects. These programs help when you go back to a specific 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 benefits to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- Your brain will have a decreased cognitive load.
- Your quality of life will get better.
- You won’t be aggravated because you can’t hear (at least, not as often).
You will be able to spend time 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 the majority of hearing aids until recently. An algorithm is, after all, an intricate math equation. But prices are decreasing, partly due to the prevalence of the technology.
That’s not saying that those hearing aids will absolutely come down in price soon and you still might end up wanting a model that doesn’t include AI functionality. Clearly, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. However, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more prevalent and more widely available.
Deciding what’s best for you
Hearing aids with AI might be overkill for somebody who lives by themselves and stays put a lot. But AI makes a huge difference for people who are socially active and go out into loud situations a lot.
For somebody who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets exhausted easily in social scenarios, AI hearing aids would be very helpful. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less tired with AI hearing aids. 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 too.
How can AI technology help you? Give us a call to schedule an appointment!