When somebody talks about artificial intelligence (AI), it might arouse thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But today, AI is a reality that we all need to get used to. With regard to hearing aids, this is particularly true. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that merely increase the volume of sounds around you. Modern-day, high-end hearing aids utilize AI.
Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?
AI is a complex computer algorithm that uses data inputs to produce new results. In doing this, AI algorithms engage in a type of learning, aptly called “machine learning”. When the algorithm is working properly, there’s no need to “program” the AI to generate each separate result.
In the instance 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 improving 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 rather straightforward function. How can things be improved 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.) Your hearing aid contains one of those! (It’s minuscule.) Altering these settings can deliver better quality sound. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are changed automatically without needing you to do anything.
These smart devices use a rich neural network to imitate human brain responses. 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 based on your viewing history, though it probably sounds like space-aged technology at first. AI is also encountered in cars and the emails auto-sorted into your inbox. These devices become more proficient at making correct decisions the more you use them.
AI hearing aids – new advances
Presently, hearing aids are incorporating multiple brand new advances in AI to help you hear even better. Here are a few of the best examples:
- Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be activated by the user. Essentially, when you have a difficult time hearing, you can activate something known as Edge Mode. When this is triggered AI will begin working on cleaning up what you’re hearing.
- Acoustic environment classification: Distinctive audio qualities come with each specific room you go into. 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 corrections that allow you to hear better in almost any environment.
- Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a number of loud or echo-prone settings. Cross talk, for instance, can often be difficult on a hearing aid. But even in a loud setting, you’ll be capable of hearing 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, everybody was masking up, which was good, but certainly made talking with a hearing aid more challenging. You can stay safer and hear better at the same time as AI algorithms can amplify the voice behind the facemask.
This is most likely only the start of the advancements scientists and manufacturers are making.
How is AI utilized in the field of audiology?
These days, AI has kind of become a bit of a buzzword. Depending on the context, AI does different things, which can occasionally lead to confusion. So, what does AI mean for the discipline of audiology?
First off, 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. In the future, AI might be able to help with detecting hearing loss or even helping patients prevent future hearing loss.
Patients will see AI in more and more of their devices as the technology becomes more dependable.
The advantages of AI-assisted hearing aids
AI is being incorporated into hearing aids not because it’s the popular new fad, in contrast to other industries. Some significant benefits 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 lots of devices, like televisions, cell phones, speaker phones, and a myriad of other devices. Machine learning algorithms can help by filtering out this feedback, so all you hear is the sound you actually want to hear.
- You have more control over how you hear: You can turn on 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 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 severity of your tumble. If there is a severe fall, these hearing aids can, in some situations, notify the Authorities. AI can also make your health information easier to understand, helping you know when you should be exercising more, eating healthier, or just hydrating more.
- Social engagement: Studies have revealed that people who wear AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful with regard 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 engagement. That said, it’s not completely clear that AI is the defining factor in keeping your social life afloat. Likely, it simply helps people who are already social better maintain their relationships.
What this means for patients
For individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits frequently lead to real-world advantages. Imagine you are having a conversation 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 listen to the noise around you and respond the way your brain would, lowering background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.
AI learns to recognize sounds and creates a location-by-location algorithm. These algorithms help when you return to a specific location or sound profile. In order to better define and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with day-to-day sounds.
Here are some other practical benefits to AI-assisted hearing aids:
- You will have improved quality of life.
- Your brain will experience a decreased cognitive load.
- You will feel less aggravated 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.
Reward vs. cost
Because of the costs, AI wasn’t offered in most hearing aids until recent times. An algorithm is, after all, a complex math equation. But prices are decreasing, partly 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 necessarily be less costly in the near future. Obviously, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But, it does mean that these AI-assisted features are becoming more common and more readily available.
Finding out what choice is best for you
Hearing aids with AI might be too much for someone who lives by themselves and stays put a lot. To somebody who is socially active and finds themselves in conditions with lots of competing sounds, however, it makes a huge difference.
Hearing aids with AI are also useful for someone who is quickly worn out in social situations where the chore of keeping up with conversations using a traditional hearing aid is exhausting. 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. Hearing aids will keep improving as AI technology improves.
How can AI technology help you? Call us to set up an appointment!