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Do Hearing Aids Use Artificial Intelligence?


Artificial Intelligence is the latest technology buzzword. We hear it applied to our smartphones, websites and apps. But, what about hearing aids? Wired author Dag Spicer predicted it would soon become possible, but that was back in 2017.

His reasoning was analog chips would follow, allowing them to operate independently of cloud support.

Artificial intelligence, in the computing sense, is technology with programming that can solve complex problems intelligently. How it does this is beyond the scope of this article, and to be honest seldom-visited territory for us.

However, the technology itself involves learning from experience - and adjusting to complex situations in a staggering variety of ways - according to Widex and Better Hearing. It’s literally all over the place in our lives, for example in our smartphones, entertainment systems, and self-drive cars when we can afford them.

Artificial intelligence is also transforming the hearing aid industry as we write.  It can already do smart things like suppress background noise, and tune into human conversations. If you had loads of money you could even have hearing aids with geolocation, which would track your location.

Prepare to Enter a New Brave World Waiting

Hearing aids with artificial intelligence are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. It’s somewhat daunting for those of us after a simple life, where we remain in control. That’s why we were excited to know that trainable artificial intelligence is also available on some models.

The current trends are likely to continue, according to Kumba Sennear Kumba, AI analyst at Emerj business intelligence research. She envisages ongoing progress, given that hearing loss is the third most likely physical ailment after heart disease and arthritis in United States. Let’s find out what else Kumba’s research uncovered.

Cutting Edge AI Applications in the Hearing Industry

Enhanced Personalization

  • Personalized captioning of sign language translations have learned to recognize face expressions, arm movements, rapidity, and patterns. The goal is producing grammatically correct text, which can be shared with third parties in the loop.
  • Enhanced cochlear implant technology is already bypassing permanently damaged inner ears, and signaling directly to the wearer’s brain. Developers are working on advanced hearing aid technology, better able to balance loud and soft sounds.

Auditory Artificial Intelligence Assistants

  • Natural language processors translate voice messages by hearing people into written language, so deaf people can follow on their phones. Artificial intelligence is learning how participants speak, in order to provide natural flowing text.
  • Being able to speak coherently is as important as being able to hear correctly. Researchers are building a model to understand language ability in previously deaf people after they receive cochlea implants.

Kumba’s Conclusion: Advanced AI Hearing Assistance

The Emerj article we summarized above heralds an exciting future beyond hearing aids, with artificial intelligence. The trend is moving outward from augmenting sound for mild-to-moderately deaf people.

It is also helping deeply deaf people communicate with the world around them in ways they may have never imagined. This is an incredibly important contribution towards integrating marginalized people into broader society.

Unlocking the Amazing Potential of Deaf People

It’s an emotional trip down memory lane when we learn how severely deaf people like Helen Keller and Ludwig van Beethoven invented their workarounds. Keller learned to interpret voice by gently feeling vibrations on a speaker’s throat. Beethoven continued composing music by sensing vibrations from his piano.

I’m Partially Deaf, How Can You Help Me?

A new client wrote to us along those lines a few months ago. She told us she was in her early seventies with her mind still bright as a new dime. But her social circle was shrinking along with her hearing.

Breaking point came when her church asked her to resign from the choir because she was singing too loud. “I don’t even know if hearing aids are safe, and we don’t have medical insurance to fall back on,” she explained.

“My friends keep telling me to get hearing aids,” she confided, “but I don’t have a pension and I’ve heard they are terribly expensive. Besides, when I asked at a shop I was horribly confused by the technology they described”.

“I’m becoming desperate now. My husband is awfully frustrated because I can’t properly hear what he is saying any more. I guess we reached the stage we know I need help. But we’ve only got $1,000 to spare, and we don’t like driving into town any more”.

Blue Angels Was Able to Offer Three Solutions

Our hearing aids are completely safe in normal use, we explained, although you may need to check AI bluetooth applications from other suppliers. In fact, you will find yourself more in tune with your surroundings, especially nearby with our hearing aids. They are unbelievably simple to use, really just plug and play you’ll discover.

Our hearing aids also have ‘artificially intelligent’ dual microphones that will help you focus on nearby, not background sounds. How much do these cost she asked, cautiously. Between $300 and $600 a pair we answered, including delivery to your front door. We have a deal she said, where do we go from here.

Related

7 Best Apps for Deaf or Hard of Hearing People

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Sources

https://www.wired.com/story/an-old-technique-could-put-artificial-intelligence-in-your-hearing-aid/

https://global.widex.com/en/blog/how-ai-powered-hearing-aids-help-you-hear-better

https://betterhearing.org/hearing-aids/artificial-intelligence/

https://www.widexpro.com/en-us/evidence-technology/artificial-intelligence-in-hearing-aids

https://emerj.com/ai-sector-overviews/ai-for-hearing-loss-tech-advances-in-hearing-aids-predicting-hearing-loss/

https://www.wired.com/story/an-old-technique-could-put-artificial-intelligence-in-your-hearing-aid/