You might think of your favorite sci-fi movie when somebody starts talking about artificial intelligence (AI). 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 boosted the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone forever. Modern-day, high-end hearing aids use AI.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a form of technology that utilizes sophisticated algorithms to generate new results from inputs of data. In this way, AI algorithms take part in a kind of learning, appropriately 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 changes 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 may seem a little abstract. After all, hearing aids appear to have a fairly straightforward function. How can adding AI to the situation enhance things? Well, picture a recording studio with the soundboard loaded with buttons and knobs. (You’ve most likely seen them in movies.) There’s a little tiny one of those inside of your hearing aid. Better audio quality can be attained by modifying these settings. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are adjusted automatically without requiring you to do anything.
These smart devices use a deep neural network to emulate human brain responses. As a result of this, these hearing aids respond in real-time to conditions without being programmed to do so.
This is the same technology that allows streaming services to recommend movies based on your viewing history, though it most likely sounds like space-aged technology initially. Newer cars use this technology to help you drive more safely and your email supplier uses it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. These devices become more proficient at making correct decisions the more you use them.
AI hearing aids – new advances
Hearing aids these days are helping you hear even better with new developments in AI technology. Some of the most relevant instances include the following:
- Noisy room filters: If you’re in a setting that has a lot of echoes, or is excessively loud, new AI technology algorithms can separate out room noise. Cross talk, for example, can often be hard on a hearing aid. 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 crowded or noisy environment.
- 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 remain safer and hear better at the same time as AI algorithms can amplify the voice behind the facemask.
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be activated by the user. Essentially, you can activate something known as edge mode whenever you’re having a tough time hearing. When this is triggered AI will start working on clearing up what you’re hearing.
- Acoustic environment classification: Unique audio properties come with each specific room you walk into. Some of those qualities are good for your hearing aids; some are bad for your hearing aids. You will hear better in nearly any setting with AI technology making practical automatic adjustments.
This is probably only the start of the advancements scientists and manufacturers are making.
How is AI employed in the field of audiology?
These days, AI has sort of become something of a buzzword. Depending on the context, AI does different things, which can occasionally cause 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 it isn’t just hearing aids. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are a couple of the things that AI will most likely do in the future.
As the technology develops and becomes more reliable, patients can expect to see artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
AI-assisted hearing aids and their advantages
AI is being incorporated into hearing aids not because it’s the hot new fad, unlike other industries. These machine learning algorithms offer some significant benefits to patients. Here are some of those benefits:
- 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.
- Social engagement: With regard to managing social interaction, individuals who utilize AI-assisted hearing aids are likely to be more successful, according to some studies. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide spectrum of settings, which likely accounts for better social engagement. But that doesn’t automatically mean AI will make-or-break your social life. Most likely, it simply helps those who are already social better maintain their relationships.
- You have more control over how you hear: Many AI-assisted hearing devices give you the option to turn those algorithms on or off. This means hearing aid users will have more control over the clarity of sound they hear. And this usually means a better overall hearing experience.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: If you accidentally fall while you’re wearing your hearing aids, your AI-assisted devices might be able to detect the significance and severity of your tumble. In some cases, these hearing aids might be programmed to automatically alert authorities or loved ones in the event of a severe fall. AI can also make your health information easier to understand, helping you know when you should be exercising more, eating healthier, or just drinking more water.
How does this affect patients?
These benefits frequently lead to real-world advantages for those with these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you were at a party having a conversation. An older hearing aid would make everything louder. This isn’t useful because the conversation you actually care about will get drowned out by background noise. An AI hearing aid is intelligent and will be able to identify and boost a person’s voice while lowering undesired noise.
AI will generate a location-by-location algorithm to deal with the various kinds of sounds it detects. 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 identify and amplify important sounds.
Some of the other practical benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- The cognitive burden will be reduced.
- You will have improved quality of life.
- You will feel less aggravated because you will be able to hear better.
In other words, it’ll be easier to hear your favorite shows, hang out with your favorite friends, and take care of your favorite brain.
Reward vs. cost
There was a time when AI wasn’t available in the vast majority of hearing aids due to the costs involved. An algorithm is, in fact, an intricate math equation. But prices are decreasing, partially due to the prevalence of the technology.
This doesn’t mean that every hearing aid you want may have AI, or even that those hearing aids will automatically be less costly in the near future. Obviously, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But AI functions are becoming more readily obtainable and common.
Finding out what choice is best for you
For someone who lives alone and doesn’t go out very much, hearing aids with AI might not be worth the extra cost. But AI makes a big difference for people who are socially involved and go out into loud situations a lot.
For somebody who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets fatigued easily in social scenarios, AI hearing aids would be very helpful. 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 find out how AI hearing aids can help you? Schedule an appointment with us right away.