Artificial Intelligence is improving the use of Hearing Aids
Hearing loss, Tinnitus, A.I. for Good, and how A.I. is augmenting hearing-aid tech and the work of audiologists
Increasingly in the 2020s hearing aid technology is being augmented by artificial intelligence. AI-powered hearing solutions support your brain by giving it more of what it needs to make better sense of sound.
Studies consistently report that the prevalence of tinnitus increases with increasing age. This is to be expected with no cure for tinnitus and more potential life-years of exposure to noise, medications, trauma and other precipitators. There’s some evidence and a lot of speculation that the incidence of tinnitus might also be related to Long-covid-19 and even Covid-19 vaccines and 5G technology for some individuals.
Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system. For many people, tinnitus improves with treatment of the underlying cause or with other treatments that reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.
Whatever the case may be often the prescription involves hearing-aids. In the years ahead as A.I. gets more funding to empower the well-being and quality of life with those who have disabilities, A.I. in the hearing aid tech space is bound to get a lot more attention and R&D.
One of these reasons hearing loss can be difficult and complicated to address is that the extent of hearing loss can be different from individual to individual, which is why it’s vital to visit a trained hearing professional. The prevalence of hearing loss is surprisingly high.
One in eight people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations. About 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss.
Hearing aid technology is improving all the time, and there is an exciting new technology that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to help hearing aids learn and improve by isolating important environmental sounds.
The idea of AI goes back at least 2,700 years. Long before technological advances made self-moving devices possible, ideas about creating artificial life and robots were explored in ancient myths. Now that it’s coming true, it would be great if A.I. was actually good for people.
A.I for Good Movement
The A.I. for good movement can be broadly defined as:
A.I. for Earth
A.I. for Health
A.I. for Education
A.I. for Accessibility
A.I for Inclusion
A.I for Humanitarian Action
A.I. for Cultural Heritage
A.I. for the Preservation of Human Rights, Freedoms and Privacy
A.I. for Financial and Economic Equality
A.I. for Fair Governance and Transparent Leadership
A.I. for Corporate Social Responsibility
In ethical terms, we aren’t doing so well in the A.I. for good movement. A.I. for Health likely gets the most funding. In many ways A.I. actually leads to less economic equality due to the centralized influence of venture capital, government and BigTech corporations.
How Does A.I. Boost Hearing Aid Technology?
AI uses data to recognize patterns, which can then be applied to solve problems. With large amounts of data, AI is able to navigate through complex problems involving many variables.
How has AI been used for hearing loss so far, and what potential does it hold to help with hearing loss?
AI is also being used by some audiologists to assist in fitting hearing aids. Software with AI functions can provide suggestions to tune the hearing aid correctly as the audiologist plays sounds.
AI is now increasingly being used in more sophisticated hearing aids to provide a greater impact on correcting hearing loss.
For example, an AI-powered hearing aid could have established modes for different environments, such as being out in a crowded place, at home, or watching a movie. The hearing aid would be able to adjust its frequencies depending on where the wearer was to optimize that person’s ability to hear.
A.I. thus helps us use hearing aid tech personalized to us and our environment. A.I. is augmenting how audiologists fit a hearing aid to the individual.
A.I. can also help hearing aids filter ambient sounds better. Newer hearing aids that are powered with AI can sense the ambient sound in the environment and automatically make changes as needed. Those hearing aids can automatically lower background noise while boosting speech, increasing the volume to improve hearing.
Chinese tech company iFLYTEK has launched its first C-end medical product series dubbed iFLYTEK Smart Hearing Aids.
NexGen even have a promo about how A.I. is used in their hearing aids. Neither of these are sponsors of this article, I just found it interesting.
A.I. will Personalize Hearing Aid Tech to the Person Soon
Future uses of AI in hearing loss
I think it’s fair to say that AI technology is helping to propel advancements in hearing loss, working to mimic how the brain hears sounds. Hearing aids that use AI will automatically adjust to best fit a user’s individual needs.
A.I. could also allow for hearing-aid tech to get better over time. AI is constantly learning, scanning the sounds in your environment and adapting to what is crucial for hearing. Hearing aids outfitted with AI technology could even start to identify voices that are important to the wearer and emphasize those while filtering out others.
Clearly with hearing loss also wearables such as smart watches, AR glasses and wrist bands could improve how the personal gains valuable information. Ambient computing could enable people to overcome their disabilities in novel and new ways. Much of this will of course be facilitated by artificial intelligence.
I will leave you with Microsoft’s 2019 “AI for Good” video that I found on YouTube.
I enjoy thinking about the A.I. for Good movement, and covering A.I. applications in healthcare, which is why I started my Benefactor journal, that can be found at the top of the AiSupremacy home page.
What do you think?
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