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It seems as if all our devices are getting stronger, smarter, and smaller. In general, the trend is that devices have more features and take up less space.

This is also true for hearing aids, and it’s not surprising. Though hearing issues have many different causes, hearing difficulties are more prevalent amongst older individuals, and the world’s population is aging. About 37.5 million adults and 3 million Canadians describe some level of hearing impairment according to the National Institutes of Health. And that number is rising because age is the best demographic variable to predict hearing loss.

Of course, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, even one individual with trouble hearing, i.e. you, is one person too many. Are there any better ways to deal with hearing impairment? Bring ‘em on! Innovations are happening, here are some.

Complete-Body Tracking Through Your Hearing Aids

This is so obvious, it’s one of those “Now why didn’t I think of that” innovations. Health and fitness trackers have to be worn on the body. So, if you’ve already got a device that’s in your ear… do you really need a separate one on your wrist? Nope! Or at least, you don’t with some of the latest hearing aids, which in addition to helping fix hearing difficulties such as tinnitus, will also track your pulse, your physical activity, and much more. Hearing aids can also monitor things that other wearables usually don’t, like the time spent conversing. How much social involvement you get can actually be a vital health metric, particularly as you age.

Data Streaming

Connectivity is the major watchword, as virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa have moved from smartphones to in-home devices seamlessly. Some hearing aids that offer Bluetooth capabilities now let users stream audio directly from a device, like a smart TV for example, to the hearing aids. Google published open-source standards for Android developers that show them how to use specific channels within Bluetooth to provide uninterrupted audio straight to hearing aids. This type of technology is helping hearing aids work almost like super-powered wireless headphones, making it easier to enjoy movies, music, and more.

Smart Adjustments From Big Data

Similar to how Netflix suggests shows and movies based on what you’ve watched previously, or your Fitbit buzzes to let you know you’ve reached a goal (or okay, let’s say stepping stone, depending on how driven your daily step goals are), your next hearing aid may make personalized suggestions. Several manufacturers are working on hearing aids that will learn both from the adjustments you make and from listening to the places you go. Some go as far as to crowdsource data about people’s utilization habits, making it anonymous then aggregating it. So whether you’re watching TV at home, or in an IMAX theater, your hearing aids will be able to use this information to know what your situation is and make adjustments to give you the best audio experience.

Finally Losing The Batteries

Hearing aids that don’t require their batteries replaced? Sound too good to be true? It can be very inconvenient making sure you have spare batteries or that your hearing aids are completely charged. While we’re not likely to see hearing aids that don’t need any batteries, there has been a continuous improvement in rechargeable technology. You’ll get faster charging time, longer use time, and worry less about batteries, which seems pretty good.

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