When somebody talks about artificial intelligence (AI), it might arouse thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But these days, AI is more science than just fiction. When it comes to hearing aids, this is particularly true. The times when hearing aids merely 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 generate new results. AI is able to use an algorithm to take part in a type of learning known as “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t need to program every individual result because the algorithm does that on its own.
In the case of hearing aids, AI algorithms can help your hearing aids adapt to your personal requirements based on your behaviors, lifestyle, habits, and level of hearing loss. This makes your hearing aid more successful at improving your hearing.
How can you hear better with AI?
This might seem a bit abstract at first. After all, hearing aids appear to have a rather straightforward function. How can things be enhanced by adding AI to the mix? Well, you know that row of big knobs and buttons that people use 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. Better audio quality can be achieved by altering these settings. AI-powered hearing aids change these digital dials and switches automatically, enhancing the way you hear without any hassle on your part.
These smart devices use a deep neural network to imitate human brain responses. As a result of this, these hearing aids respond in real-time to situations without being programmed to deal with them.
This may sound like futuristic science, but it’s the same fundamental 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. The more you use these devices, the more reliable they become at making correct decisions.
AI hearing aids – new innovations
Presently, hearing aids are integrating multiple brand new improvements in AI to help you hear even better. Some of the best examples include the following:
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be initiated by the user. Basically, you can initiate something known as edge mode whenever you’re having a hard time hearing. When this is initiated AI will begin working on cleaning up what you’re hearing.
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a variety of loud or echo-prone locations. A hearing aid can have a hard time with cross-talk, for example. But even in a loud setting, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the individual across from you is talking about as AI filters out unwanted information.
- Helping you hear through facemasks: During the pandemic, everyone was masking up, which was good, but definitely made talking with a hearing aid more challenging. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping those with hearing aids hear better and stay safe simultaneously.
- Acoustic environment classification: Every room you go into has its own distinct 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 just about any environment with AI technology making effective automatic adjustments.
Hearing aid makers and scientists are continuously developing new hearing aid technologies, so this might be just the tip of the iceberg.
How is AI utilized in the field of audiology?
These days, AI has kind of become something of a buzzword. Everybody’s heard it, which is okay, but the trouble is that AI does different things depending on the applications. So when it comes to the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.
First, it means that scientists are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more beneficial to patients. New technologies, such as machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But it’s not just hearing aids. In the future, AI might be able to help with detecting hearing loss or even helping patients prevent future hearing loss.
As the technology develops and becomes more dependable, patients can expect to see artificial intelligence in more of their devices.
The advantages of AI-assisted hearing aids
Unlike some other industries, AI isn’t being incorporated into hearing aids simply because it’s the hot new fad. Some significant advantages to patients are provided by these machine learning algorithms. Here are a few 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 range 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: Studies have found that those who wear AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful when it comes to dealing with their social involvement. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide array of settings, which probably accounts for better social interaction. But that doesn’t necessarily mean AI will make-or-break your social life. Likely, it simply helps people who are already social better preserve their relationships.
- Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re using a hearing aid and you take a tumble, your AI-assisted device can detect the seriousness of your fall. In the event of a severe fall, these hearing aids can, in some cases, notify the Authorities. AI can also make your health information easier to interpret, helping you identify when you should be moving more, eating better, or just drinking more water.
- You have more control over how you hear: You can activate AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing aids. So the quality of sound users hear will be more in their control. And this often translates into hearing better more frequently.
What this means for patients
These benefits frequently result in real-world advantages for individuals who use these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you were at a party having a conversation. An older hearing aid would make everything louder. And sadly, background noise also gets boosted making it difficult to hear voices. An AI hearing aid is intelligent and will be capable of identifying and boosting a person’s voice while lowering unwanted noise.
AI learns to recognize sounds and generates a location-by-location algorithm. These programs help when you return to a specific location or sound profile. In order to better identify and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with day-to-day sounds.
Some of the other practical benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:
- You will have improved quality of life.
- Your brain will experience a decreased cognitive burden.
- You will feel less frustrated because you will be able to hear better.
You will be able to hang out 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 was not offered in most hearing aids because of the costs involved. After all, the device itself has to do some extreme calculations (an algorithm, after all, is basically a very fancy math problem). But prices are decreasing, 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 wind up wanting a model that doesn’t have AI capabilities. Obviously, patients will still need to make important decisions. But AI functions are becoming more readily available and prevalent.
Deciding what’s best for you
For somebody who lives alone and doesn’t go out very much, hearing aids with AI may not be worth the added cost. To someone who is socially active and finds themselves in scenarios with many competing sounds, however, it makes a big difference.
For someone who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets exhausted easily in social situations, AI hearing aids would be very helpful. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less tired 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? Make an appointment with us right away.