You may think of your favorite sci-fi movie when someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI). But nowadays, AI is more science than fiction. This is especially true with regard to hearing aids. The times when hearing aids simply increased the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone for good. Contemporary, high-end hearing aids utilize AI.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a sophisticated computer algorithm that utilizes data inputs to produce new results. In doing this, AI algorithms take part in a kind of learning, appropriately called “machine learning”. When the algorithm is working correctly, there’s no need to “program” the AI to produce each separate result.
Depending on the degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make modifications depending on your behaviors and your requirements. Your hearing aids will be more effective at increasing your ability to hear because of this.
How can you hear better with AI?
Initially, this might seem a bit abstract. After all, hearing aids appear to have a pretty straightforward function. How can things be improved by adding AI to the mix? Well, you know that row of big dials and buttons that people use to mix music in recording studios? (Maybe you’ve seen them in movies.) There’s a tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Better audio quality can be attained by adjusting these settings. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are changed automatically without requiring you to do anything.
These smart devices use a deep neural network to emulate human brain responses. Without even being programmed to, these devices react to real-time situations because of this.
This is the same technology that allows streaming services to suggest movies based on your viewing history, though it probably sounds like futuristic technology at first. Newer cars utilize this technology to help you drive more safely and your email supplier utilizes it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. These devices become more expert at making appropriate choices the more you use them.
AI hearing aids – new advances
Presently, hearing aids are incorporating multiple brand new improvements in AI to help you hear even better. Here are a few of the best examples:
- Acoustic environment classification: Unique audio qualities come with each specific room you walk into. Your hearing aids can deal with some of those properties, but others it doesn’t do so well with. You will hear better in nearly any setting with AI technology making effective automatic adjustments.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everybody was wearing masks, which was good, but certainly made talking with a hearing aid more challenging. You can stay 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 difficult time with cross-talk, for instance. But even in a loud setting, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the person across from you is talking about as AI filters out unwanted information.
- 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 activates the AI algorithm and the algorithm will get to work trying to make your hearing clearer.
Hearing aid manufacturers and scientists are continuously innovating new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg.
How is AI utilized in the field of audiology?
AI has become somewhat of a buzzword these days. Depending on the application, AI does different things, which can in some cases cause confusion. So when it comes 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 helpful to patients. New technologies, including machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But hearing aids aren’t all there is to it. In the future, AI may be able to help with diagnosing hearing loss or even helping patients avoid future hearing loss.
Patients will find AI in more and more of their devices as the technology becomes more dependable.
The benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids
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. Among those benefits are the following:
- Social engagement: With regard to dealing with social interaction, people who utilize AI-assisted hearing aids are likely to be more successful, according to some research. This is most likely because the speech they hear is clearer in a wider variety of environments. Having said that, it’s not entirely clear that AI is the deciding factor in keeping your social life afloat. It most likely 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. This means hearing aid users will have more control over the quality of sound they hear. And this normally means hearing better more frequently.
- Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other array devices can cause feedback in your hearing aids. This feedback can be filtered out by machine learning algorithms so the sound you actually want to hear is the only sound you will hear.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: If you accidentally fall while you’re wearing your hearing aids, your AI-assisted devices might be capable of detecting the significance and seriousness of your tumble. In some situations, these hearing aids might be programmed to automatically notify authorities or loved ones if there is a severe fall. Should you be drinking more water, exercising more, eating better? AI can make your health data easier to understand.
What this means for patients
These benefits often lead to real-world advantages for people with these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you are having a conversation at a party. If you were using an older-style hearing aid, it would just crank the volume up. And unfortunately, background noise also gets boosted making it impossible to hear voices. With AI, the hearing aid can listen to the noise around you and react the way your brain would, lowering background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.
AI will generate a location-by-location program to deal with the various kinds of sounds it picks up. These programs help when you return to a specific location or sound profile. Other hearing aids with AI are programmed with day-to-day sounds in order to better define and amplify important sounds.
Here are some other practical advantages to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- You won’t be frustrated because you can’t hear (at least, not as frequently).
- The cognitive burden will be reduced.
- You will have improved quality of life.
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.
Cost vs. reward
There was a time when AI wasn’t offered in most hearing aids owing to the costs involved. After all, the device itself must perform some intense calculations (an algorithm, after all, is basically a very elegant math problem). However, in part 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 might have AI, or even that those hearing aids will automatically be less expensive in the near future. Clearly, patients will still need to make important choices. But AI functions are becoming more readily available and common.
Finding out what option is best for you
Hearing aids with AI might be too much for someone who lives by themselves and stays home a lot. But AI makes a big difference for people who are socially involved and go out into noisy situations a lot.
Hearing aids with AI are also useful for someone who is quickly worn out in social scenarios where the task of keeping up with conversations utilizing a traditional hearing aid is exhausting. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less exhausted 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.
Want to see how AI hearing aids can help you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.