Excited About Hearing Aids? Maybe You Should Be.
As I said, do you remember that time you thought to yourself I just can't wait to wear hearing aids! Yes, I didn't think so, usually, the thought of wearing hearing devices is met with dread and some trite tosh about getting old. But I think that will change; in fact, I think before long people with normal hearing may well be looking forward to hearing devices, let me explain.
Getting Excited About Hearing Aids
In the last couple of years hearing aids have begun to change, the R&D behind them has expanded in concept. While the main thrust of the R&D efforts is still towards providing the best hearing experience. A lot of thought is going into a deeper integration of hearing aids into the life of people who wear them. The direction that the hearing aid brands are taking is damned exciting.
Integrated For Life
I spoke about Kaizn by Oticon in the last article, and I said that I loved the concept but I wanted more. The thing is that it is obvious that the brands are thinking about delivering more. With the advent of onboard sensors to hearing aids and the introduction of widespread and deepening connection between hearing aids and Smartphones, the ground is being laid for impressive things moving forward.
Each brand has begun to up its game when it comes to accompanying apps for hearing aids. The functionality and power provided by apps from Resound, Widex, Phonak, Signia, Unitron and Starkey are outstanding. While the Oticon Opn app was nothing special, they too have begun to take strides forward. I think every hearing aid manufacturer is considering how they will make their hearing aids indispensable to you. I think every brand is considering how they will make their hearing aids more integrated into your life.
What is more important then your health? Well for me it would be strong cider and bacon. Often together! That's why I am not going to make it to sixty. Anyway, health and maintaining it has become exceptionally important for many people across the world. Tracking of vitals and exercise taken is a key part of understanding the general health of someone.
As I have said before, the ear is the ideal place to get the data that you need to track health. We have already seen sensors in hearing aids. I think we can expect to see more. I think that all of the hearing aid brands are considering how to provide the features and new use cases for the data that it will provide. That type of functionality means that our hearing aids may well become our personal health assistant in the near future.
The Personal Assistant
I have said it many times, I want my hearing aids to be my personal assistant. I want them to help me keep track of my health, of my day and my schedule. More than that, I want them to keep me informed and even educate me. If I stand outside a cafe or restaurant, I want them to tell me about it. If I stand to look at a landmark or a tourist attraction I want them to give me a run down on it. In essence, I want my hearing aids to make my life simple yet enrich it.
I don't think this is too much and while right now it sounds a bit science-fictiony, I think we will see early versions of this concept within the next twelve to twenty-four months. In fact, I think many of the brands are working towards this, I would be surprised if they weren't.
The Next Frontier
I think the next frontier for hearing aids is deep personalisation. I think it is deep integration into your life. When that happens, when hearing aids help you hear better, make your life simple make you healthier (in my case berate me for lack of exercise) and enrich it on a daily basis, well then I think a lot more people will be excited about wearing hearing aids, or whatever we are calling them then.
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Posted by Geoff
Geoffrey (Geoff, anything else makes him nervous) Cooling is an Irish hearing aid blogger and has been involved with the hearing aid industry since 2007. He has worked in private practice dispensing hearing aids and as a manufacturer's rep. He has written two books and they are both available on Amazon. He loves technology, passing on knowledge and is legendary for many other things, primarily the amount he curses, his dry and mischievous sense of humour and his complete intolerance of people who are full of themselves. Please feel free to connect with him.
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