You may think of your favorite sci-fi movie when somebody starts talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But these days, AI is more science than just fiction. With regard to hearing aids, this is especially true. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that merely raise the volume of sounds around you. AI is at the root of modern hearing aids.
What is artificial intelligence?
AI is a sophisticated computer algorithm that utilizes data inputs to generate new results. AI is capable of using an algorithm to participate in a type of learning known as “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t have to program every individual result because the algorithm does that by itself.
Depending on the degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make changes depending on your behaviors and your needs. 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 feel a little abstract initially. Hearing aids do seem to have a straightforward function, after all. How can things be enhanced by adding AI to the mix? Well, imagine a recording studio with the soundboard full of buttons and dials. (You’ve most likely seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid has one of those! (It’s tiny.) Changing these settings can produce better sound quality. AI-powered hearing aids change these digital dials and switches automatically, enhancing the way you hear without any hassle by you.
These smart devices use a deep neural network to re-create human brain responses. As a result of this, these hearing aids react in real-time to situations without being programmed to deal with them.
This might sound like space-age science, but it’s the same fundamental technology that allows streaming services to recommend programming according to your viewing history. Newer cars use this technology to help you drive more safely and your email provider utilizes it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. These devices become more expert at making correct choices the more you use them.
AI hearing aids – new innovations
These days, hearing aids are incorporating several brand new advances in AI to help you hear even better. Some of the best instances include the following:
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everyone was wearing masks, which was good, but certainly made conversations with a hearing aid more challenging. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping people with hearing aids hear better and remain safe at the same time.
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you walk into has its own distinctive acoustic characteristics. Your hearing aids can handle some of those properties, but others it can’t handle very well. You will hear better in almost any setting with AI technology making practical automatic adjustments.
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be initiated by the user. Basically, you can activate something called edge mode whenever you’re having a hard time hearing. When this is triggered AI will begin working on clearing up what you’re hearing.
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a number of loud or echo-prone settings. A hearing aid can have a difficult time with cross-talk, for instance. But with an AI filtering out non-imperative information, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the individual across from you is saying, even in a packed or noisy setting.
Hearing aid producers and scientists are constantly developing new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg.
How is AI employed in the discipline of audiology?
These days, AI has kind of become something of a buzzword. Depending on the context, AI does different things, which can occasionally result in confusion. So with regard to the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
First off, it means that researchers are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more useful to patients. This research includes new technologies, including deep neural networks and machine learning. 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 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
Unlike some other industries, AI isn’t being incorporated into hearing aids simply because it’s the popular new thing. These machine learning algorithms provide some significant benefits to patients. Among those benefits are the following:
- Social engagement: Studies have found that those who use 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. That said, it’s not completely 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: You can activate AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing aids. This means hearing aid wearers will have more control over the clarity of sound they hear. And this usually means a better overall hearing experience.
- 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 hear is the sound you actually want to hear.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: If you happen to fall while you’re wearing your hearing aids, your AI-assisted devices may be capable of detecting the significance and seriousness of your tumble. In some situations, these hearing aids may be programmed to automatically notify authorities or loved ones in the event of a severe fall. Should you be hydrating more, exercising more, eating better? AI can make your health data easier to interpret.
How does this affect patients?
These benefits often result in real-world advantages for individuals with 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 unfortunately, background noise also gets boosted making it difficult to hear voices. An AI hearing aid is intelligent and will be able to identify and boost a person’s voice while lowering unwanted noise.
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 activate these algorithms. In order to better define and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with day-to-day sounds.
Some of the other practical advantages of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- You will have improved quality of life.
- You will feel less frustrated because you will be able to hear better.
- Your brain will experience a lower cognitive burden.
In other words, it’ll be easier to follow along with your favorite shows, hang out with your favorite people, and take care of your favorite brain.
Cost vs. reward
There was a time when AI was not offered in most hearing aids due to the costs involved. After all, the device itself has to do some extreme calculations (an algorithm, of course, is basically a very fancy math problem). But prices are coming down, partially due to the prevalence of the technology.
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 have AI functionality. Obviously, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But AI features are becoming more readily obtainable and common.
Finding out what option is best for you
For somebody who lives alone and doesn’t go out much, hearing aids with AI might not be worth the extra cost. To somebody who is socially active and finds themselves in conditions 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 develop, hearing aids will continue to as well.
How can AI technology help you? Make an appointment with us right away.