We?re constantly amazed by the leaps and bounds being made in technology. Cars use less gas and are better for the environment. Phones are equipped with AI that can answer any question you ask and help you track your health. Smart home systems that can run all of your appliances and even call emergency services in case of a fire, break-in, or other dangerous situation. All of these things improve the quality of our lives, but there?s one device that may have more of an impact on your life and health than any other: hearing aids. And these devices haven?t been left in the dust by technological advancements! Here?s how new hearing aids can help you reap the benefits of technology.
How Hearing Loss Affects You
Based on self-reported data, an estimated 48.1 million people in the United States live with a hearing loss in some form. That?s about 20% of the population! Age is the largest factor in the prevalence of hearing loss: with each decade of life, the percentage of people reporting hearing loss rises.
However, only 20% of that 20% of the population sought help for their hearing loss! People who experience hearing difficulties typically wait four to seven years before seeking help. In that time, they?ve stopped getting together with friends and family, going out to eat, going to church, and playing bridge. They stop living their lives because they can?t hear, and they may also be experiencing issues like cognitive decline or depression when they live without the hearing aids they need.
In these cases, going without hearing aids is akin to abstaining from benefits of technology like modern medicine, safe vehicles, or smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Life is better and safer with them!
A growing body of evidence points to a connection between hearing health and overall health. When people treat their hearing loss, they don?t just hear better – they lower the risk for serious health issues and improve the quality of life for themselves and those around them. Healthy hearing means a healthier you and keeps you engaged so you don?t miss a beat in life!
The Benefits of Technology
Your sense of hearing is made possible by 30,000 micro cilia, or hair cells, in the inner ear. They convert sound into signals that the brain can process. Damage to these hair cells is one of the most common reasons you may experience hearing loss. We can?t replace or repair these hair cells – which means hearing loss can?t be ?cured? and you?re left with a faulty system. But using hearing aids, we can treat hearing loss by making the best use of your remaining hair cells.
Hearing aid manufacturers are constantly improving their devices. Each new generation of hearing aid devices does a better job of recreating a real sense of hearing. Try a new hearing aid and you?ll experience clear, rich sound with no buzzing, whistling, or feedback. You?ll hear important sounds comfortably and naturally with suppressed background noise.
Some hearing aids implement artificial intelligence that can perform an acoustic analysis of the environment to reduce background noise and improve speech sounds in real time. They can adapt to any hearing situation and transition effortlessly between them.
But the benefits of technology don?t stop there! Hearing aids can do all of this in a smaller package than ever before. Gone are the days of large and unseemly tan devices; the latest hearing aids are sleek and unintrusive. Some are virtually invisible while hidden behind the ear, while others sit deep within the ear canal. And you?ll no longer need to worry about changing the battery, as most new devices are rechargeable.
But the benefits of technology don?t stop there!
Hear with Convenience
New hearing aids are all about connectivity. Use their features and accessories to improve your hearing in a variety of situations:
Having trouble hearing the TV? Use a transmitter, available from each hearing aid brand, to stream the sound directly from the TV to your ears through your hearing aids. The transmitter allows you to hear without turning the volume up to unreasonable levels. Your family and neighbors will thank you for it!
Still can?t hear speech in noisy settings? As the hearing aid gets further away from the sound you?re trying to hear, it has more difficulty picking up the sound signal and encounters more background noise. Even new AI-equipped hearing aids will still have trouble in certain circumstances.
However, devices like Phonak?s Roger? function as external microphones, giving you a way to get closer to the sound without moving your body. Roger? can identify speakers and focus in on their speech or can manually be set to pick up a particular person?s voice. Similar external microphones come with lanyards and can be given directly to and worn by someone who you?re having trouble hearing, like a teacher, a tour guide, or a spouse.
Health, Safety, and Connectivity
Of course, we can?t forget about smartphones when we?re talking about connectivity! Most modern hearing aids come with Bluetooth connectivity and can be linked up to your smartphone. Your smartphone can give you an easy way to control your hearing aids, allowing you to adjust sound settings and make other changes.
But one of the benefits of technology is versatility! With the help of AI, your smartphone-connected hearing aids can do things like:
- Take calls and make it easier than ever to hear over the phone.
- Give you reminders – never forget a meeting or a medication again!
- Turn on and off when you remove them and set them down, saving battery life.
- Transcribe conversations so you can read what is being said or even save it for later.
- Interpret 27 different languages, a futuristic feature that should excite any travel enthusiast.
But the ear also happens to be a great place for tracking your health. Starkey?s hearing aids are able to track physical and brain activity through an app available on both Apple and Android devices. See how many steps you?ve taken, how long you?ve stood, and how much exercise you?ve completed each day. Track mental stimulation and how often you?ve been verbally engaged, both of which are key factors in maintaining healthy cognitive abilities.
But these hearing aids can keep you and your loved ones safe, too. Using the Thrive Care App from Starkey, you can track the well-being of elderly loved ones with their permission. An internal gyroscope can even detect a fall. If your loved one doesn?t respond within one minute, you?ll be notified that they?re in need of help.
How Can New Technology Help You?
Each new hearing aid that?s released makes new benefits of technology available to improve the quality of life for those who wear them. From remote microphones to TV and smartphone connectivity to artificial intelligence, today?s hearing aids are making hearing loss treatment easier and more effective than ever before. These aren?t your parent?s old hearing aids! Schedule an appointment at The Hill Hear Better Clinic today and learn how the latest technology can improve your hearing – and your life!