Hearing Aids & Artificial Intelligence

Hearing Aids & Artificial Intelligence

In Hearing Aid Technology, hearing aids by Candace Wawra

Candace Wawra

Hearing technology has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Indeed, it can be tough to keep up with all the new features and technologies released annually. Cutting-edge hearing aid technology is making hearing aids smaller, able to handle more challenging listening environments and aligning hearing aids towards being a lifestyle device, rather than a strictly medical instrument. The latest trends in cutting edge hearing technology is artificial intelligence (AI).  Far from being part of a dystopian future as sci-fi movies have predicted, AI will provide a huge benefit to hearing aid users over the next twenty years.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence, with the use of intelligent or learned solutions for complicated problems, is a growing area of computer science. It’s typically used to process large amounts of data and then formulate a solution that the average person would find acceptable, either using existing rules and guidelines or deciding what the guidelines would be. These guidelines or standards form the core of an algorithm, computer code that executes a series of actions based on data inputs.

While many people think of film robots in terms of artificial intelligence, some of the latest applications of AI were to track and detect insider traders, make complicated schedules for personnel or even provide cognitive behavioral therapy.

Artificial Intelligence and Hearing Aids

You may be questioning about relation between AI and hearing aids, given that humans are already very trained to interpret meaning from audible clues in language and to use contextual clues from social contact.

However, the emergence of AI in hearing aid technology allow you to hear in ways that replicate the human mind’s abilities. After hearing a person speak, the brain functions in a way that was previously impossible to reproduce with hearing aid technology. AI is now able to do some of the more complex tasks, as well separating one voice within a noisy environment.

The vanguard of hearing aids and AI: Starkey Livio AI

One of the first hearing aids to take advantage of AI was the Starkey Livio AI. Released in 2018, the device added sensors and artificial intelligence for the first time ever in a hearing aid.

Thanks to artificial intelligence, the Livio AI could learn from and perform tasks that no other hearing aid can do, such as enabling you to switch streaming on and off simply by tapping your ear in place of the auditory aid, as well as monitoring body and brain health.

The Livio could also warn you if there is anything wrong or even send a message if you are in trouble to a specified family member. This makes it easier to live independently as you get older.

Even in its early stages, Livio AI could set the stage for hearing aids to be able to monitor all kinds of health indicators. In the same way that a smart watch can inform you about your heart rate, pulse or breathing, you could track and send the information to your smartphone in the future with AI hearing aids.

Building on progress made with this ‘healthable’ hearing aid, audiology technicians hope they will in the future be able to develop technology to track body temperature and blood sugar levels with hearing aids, so your hearing aids could help keep you healthy if you have fever or are struggling to stay on top of your diabetes.

What’s next for hearing aids and AI?

AI technology is still not commonly used in in the hearing aid world, but it will soon be standard in all hearing aid technology.

In the future, AI might be particularly effective in distinguishing between important words and distracting background sounds that make it difficult to concentrate on what you want to hear.

Progress is already being made by engineers at Google. Researchers have been developing a new AI device that isolates a single speech signal between a host of other voices and ambient sounds. That form of AI would be an enormous step forward in hearing technology, enabling those with hearing loss to understand when others speak to them much more quickly, regardless of the environment.

Hearing Wellness Solutions

Although AI is the wave of the future, we provide the most technologically advanced hearing aids currently available. Contact us for a hearing consultation at Hearing Wellness Solutions to learn more about how these features can help you live a better life.