The Future of Hearing Aids: What’s Next for Hearing Tech?
Published: July 4, 2022
In a world where technology is constantly advancing, the future has a tendency to come quickly. There are smart devices around every corner—smartphones, smart TVs, smart light bulbs—and new smart technologies are being developed every single day. This includes hearing aids.
Hearing aids have already come a long way in a short period of time—both in design, features, and how they can be purchased. That being said, the future of hearing aids is sure to bring even more advancements to help those with hearing loss. Let’s take a look at what’s next for hearing technology.
The Future of Hearing Aids
Over-the-counter Hearing Aids
How people purchase hearing aids has already changed drastically in recent years. Gone are the days of needing to visit an audiologist and buy a hearing aid for thousands of dollars. Now, direct-to-consumer hearing aids are available for purchase online, meaning it’s easy—and more affordable—than ever to get treatment.
The next step in hearing aid accessibility is over-the-counter hearing aids. Like direct-to-consumer devices, OTC hearing aids won’t require a prescription from an audiologist, and many options will be more affordable than traditional hearing aids. The difference is that these devices will be available for purchase at retailers like Walgreens. This means those with hearing loss can get the treatment they need right off the shelf.
OTC hearing aids are in the not-so-distant future following the initial proposal from the FDA in 2021. While it’s unknown exactly when these devices will be available, many hearing aid brands are preparing for the change, ensuring that these devices can be available shortly after FDA rules are made official.
Expanded Health Tracking
Wearable devices like smartwatches often come with a variety of features for tracking overall health. These devices feature sensors that help track pulse, duration of exercise, and other aspects that may help promote health and wellness. In the future, hearing aids may be able to do this as well.
Hearing aids are a form of wearable technology, and incorporating health and wellness tracking with hearing aids can eliminate the need to get this information from additional devices.
Not only could this smart technology help promote healthier lifestyles, it could also help detect emergency situations, such as falls.
Right now, many hearing aids feature app functionality that makes it easy to adjust volume or settings from a mobile device. Some hearing apps even allow users to adjust settings to fit their specific environment, such as a noisy restaurant. However, if you’re unable to access the app, changing the settings can be difficult, especially on the fly.
The future of hearing aid adjustments could eliminate the need to make these changes manually. Using AI technology, future hearing aids may be able to adjust volume and settings dynamically based on the listening environment. For example, smart technology could optimize hearing performance when the hearing aid detects background noise.
One major advancement in hearing aid technology came in the form of audio streaming. It’s now possible to take phone calls or listen to music directly through a hearing aid. This has turned hearing aids from simply medical devices to all-in-one devices featuring the capabilities of Bluetooth headsets, earbuds, and more.
In the future, this connectivity could be enhanced even further. By incorporating elements like a smart assistant, hearing aids could become fully functional smart audio devices, capable of seamlessly providing various types of audio in addition to their core function of treating hearing loss. A smart assistant could make it easy to adjust settings, switch between inputs, or even ask questions right through the hearing aid.
New technology designed to actively translate different languages in real-time is improving, and some devices are currently available that can help users break language barriers. As this technology improves, future hearing aids may come equipped with similar functions.
Because they are listening devices, hearing aids are a perfect fit for active translation. One of the main benefits of hearing aids is helping users converse with others and promoting social interaction, and active translation technology can make this easier than ever.
The State of Hearing Aids Today
The future of hearing aids certainly looks bright—and with constant advancements in hearing technology, the future may come soon. Hearing aids have already come a long way from the days of clunky devices with limited features, and it’s easier than ever before to get hearing loss treatment.
For example, the Lexie hearing aid comes equipped with many advanced features such as background noise reduction, sweatproof technology, and compatibility with the Lexie app, as well as crystal clear hearing performance designed to give users the ability to hear clearly no matter where they are. Not to mention, Lexie hearing aids are also available for purchase online for thousands of dollars less than many traditional hearing aid options.