Hearing loss is widespread in the United States with about 48 million people from every walk of life experiencing some form of hearing loss. People with hearing loss have similar characteristics that they experience daily. They have difficulty with following the directions given to them and cannot communicate will with oral expression. They may have problems understanding the social behavior of others in public; lastly, people who have hard of hearing disability also have a language problem in speaking typically. Hearing loss also affects people’s ability to lead others and causes them to become a follower in social gatherings.
Challenges with hearing loss
Besides the above problems, people with hearing loss have trouble finding hearing aids that work according to their needs. A hearing aid can also be a difficult thing to find for a person who has an acute hearing loss. Not only are many hearing devices out of the range of cost of many persons suffering hearing loss, but a hearing aid can be challenging to master.
Hearing aid technology and AI
Today more companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to try to solve problems that can aid people with hearing loss. Some of the latest technologies allow people to benefit from Bluetooth technology. One company SoundSense will enable people with hearing loss to have the ability to use their hearing aid to adjust their devices automatically according to the Bluetooth Tracker that is built into their hearing aid. The tracker automatically measures the frequencies it receives when it moves from one location to another and can “understand” it is in another environment, thereby it can “tell” the hearing aid to adjust itself to the new environment.
How future hearing aids can help
Audiologists are also working on other AI technology that will be able to monitor an individual sound frequency or voice pattern within a room. In other words, a recent project by Google® has given AI the ability to be able to pinpoint a particular sound frequency out of thousands of other sound noises within a given room. Once the technology is tested to completion, it can be used to help people with hearing a loss to listen to a particular person in a crowd of noises, thereby giving the person with hearing loss an advantage when they are alone with a group of people. For years scientist has been working to be able to distinguish one vocal sound from another and mimic them in recordings and machine learning. Still, the technology is becoming smarter, and the development is allowing AI not only to identify one vocal sound from another but to also use it for self-identification in security systems.
AI and Total Health
The scientist is also working on the technology, which will allow a person to have their heart rate and blood pressure tested while in their home using the AI platform connected to a device. For example, with the IoT, there are many possibilities with home devices. An older adult who lives by themselves can also have their hearing aid connected to the internet and when the AI technology measures their vital readings like heart rate, blood pressure, mineral levels, and other information it could be set to be sent to a caregiver in a remote location if one or more of the measurements are deemed to be a danger to the person. This kind of technology is some of the technologies that are becoming possible for AI and health and persons with hearing loss. Advantages? The advantages of these future technologies will allow our parents and others we care for to enjoy more time in their own homes rather than be enclosed in health facilities for close observance.
Next Steps for AI and Hearing Loss
The next step in hearing aid technology is already being used aggressively in many other companies today. Some companies are combining both AI and brain health technology, giving each person who has hearing loss issues also to be able to not only hear better to be able to gain an overall brain health score daily. These technologies which are available through a company called Starkey Technologies are being made available to others today.