You might think of your favorite sci-fi movie when somebody starts talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But nowadays, AI is more science than fiction. This is especially true with regard to hearing aids. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that merely increase the volume of sounds around you. AI is at the root of modern hearing aids.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is a form of technology that uses sophisticated algorithms to produce new results from inputs of data. In doing this, AI algorithms participate in a type of learning, aptly called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t need to program every specific result because the algorithm does that by itself.
In the case of hearing aids, AI algorithms can help your hearing aids adapt to your personal requirements depending on your behaviors, lifestyle, habits, and level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids will be more effective at increasing your ability to hear as a result.
How can you hear better with AI?
This may seem a bit abstract initially. After all, hearing aids appear to have a pretty straightforward function. How can adding AI to the situation improve things? Well, you know that row of big knobs and buttons that people utilize to mix music in recording studios? (Maybe you’ve seen them in movies.) There’s a little tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Altering these settings can provide better quality sound. AI-powered hearing aids change these digital dials and switches automatically, enhancing how you hear without any hassle on your part.
This AI hearing aid imitates human brain response using a deep 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 recommend movies according to your viewing history, though it most likely sounds like futuristic technology initially. Newer cars use this technology to help you drive more safely and your email supplier utilizes it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. The more you make use of these devices, the more efficient they become at making correct decisions.
New improvements in AI hearing aids
These days, hearing aids are incorporating multiple brand new improvements in AI to help you hear even better. Some of the best examples include the following:
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you walk into has its own distinct acoustic characteristics. Your hearing aids can deal with some of those properties, but others it can’t handle very well. With AI technology, your hearing aid can effortlessly make automatic adjustments that let you hear better in nearly any setting.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everyone was masking up, which was good, but certainly made talking with a hearing aid more difficult. You can remain safer and hear better simultaneously as AI algorithms can amplify the voice behind the facemask.
- Edge mode: This is a user activated, AI assist mode. Basically, you can initiate something called 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.
- Noisy room filters: If you’re in a location that has a lot of echoes, or is extremely loud, new AI technology algorithms can separate out room noise. A hearing aid can have a difficult time with cross-talk, for instance. But even in a loud environment, you’ll be capable of hearing more clearly what the individual across from you is saying as AI filters out unwanted information.
This is most likely only the beginning of the developments scientists and manufacturers are making.
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 occasionally lead to confusion. So when it comes to 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. This research includes new technologies, like deep neural networks and machine learning. But it isn’t just hearing aids. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are a couple of the things that AI will likely 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 benefits
In contrast to some other industries, AI isn’t being integrated into hearing aids just because it’s the popular new fad. Some significant advantages to patients are offered by these machine learning algorithms. Here are a few of those benefits:
- Social engagement: Studies have found that those who wear AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful in terms of dealing with their social engagement. This is probably because the speech they hear is clearer in a larger number of environments. Having said that, it’s not entirely clear that AI is the deciding factor in keeping your social life healthy. It most likely just helps people better preserve 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 often means hearing better more often.
- 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 seriousness of your tumble. If there is a serious fall, these hearing aids can, in some situations, alert the Authorities. Should you be hydrating more, exercising more, eating healthier? AI can make your health data easier to understand.
- Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other myriad 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 really want to hear.
What this means for patients
For individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits often translate into real-world advantages. Imagine you are having a discussion at a party. If you were using 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 overpowered 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 learns to recognize sounds and generates a location-by-location program. If you go back to a particular location or sound profile, AI can initiate these programs. In order to better define and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with everyday sounds.
Some of the other practical benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- Your quality of life will improve.
- The cognitive burden will be decreased.
- You will feel less frustrated because you will be able to hear better.
You will be able to spend time with friends again, watch your favorite shows, and take good care of your brain, in other words.
Cost vs. reward
There was a time when AI wasn’t offered in the vast majority of hearing aids owing to 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, partially because of the prevalence of the technology, prices for AI hearing devices are starting to go down.
This doesn’t mean that every hearing aid you want might have AI, or even that those hearing aids will necessarily be less expensive in the near future. Obviously, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But AI functions are becoming more readily obtainable and prevalent.
Finding 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. To somebody who is socially active and finds themselves in conditions with many competing sounds, however, it makes a huge difference.
For somebody who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets fatigued easily in social scenarios, AI hearing aids would be really helpful. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less fatigued 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. As technology and AI improve, hearing aids will continue to as well.
How can AI technology help you? Contact us to make an appointment!