The Synergy of Hearing Aids and AI

AI technology built into hearing aids can help you hear even better

You might think of your favorite sci-fi movie when someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI). But nowadays, AI is more science than fiction. With regard to hearing aids, this is especially true. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that simply increase the volume of sounds around you. AI is at the root of contemporary hearing aids.

Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?

AI is a form of technology that uses sophisticated algorithms to produce new results from inputs of data. In this way, AI algorithms engage in a type of learning, appropriately called “machine learning”. Once the algorithm is working properly, there’s no need to “program” the AI to generate each individual result.

In the instance of hearing aids, AI algorithms can help your hearing aids adjust to your personal needs based on your behaviors, lifestyle, habits, and level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids will be more effective at increasing your ability to hear as a result.

How can you hear better with AI?

Initially, this could seem a little abstract. After all, hearing aids seem to have a fairly straightforward function. How can things be enhanced by adding AI to the mix? Well, imagine a recording studio with the soundboard full of switches and knobs. (You’ve likely seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid has one of those! (It’s minuscule.) Changing these settings can deliver better sound quality. AI-powered hearing aids move these digital dials and switches automatically, enhancing how you hear without any hassle by you.

These smart devices use a rich neural network to emulate human brain responses. As a result of this, these hearing aids react in real-time to conditions without being programmed to do so.

This might sound like futuristic science, but it’s the same basic technology that allows streaming services to suggest programming based on your viewing history. Newer cars utilize this technology to help you drive more safely and your emAIl supplier utilizes it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. The more you make use of these devices, the more reliable they become at making correct decisions.

New improvements in AI hearing aids

Hearing aids nowadays are helping you hear even better with new developments in AI technology. Here are some of the best examples:

  • Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a number of loud or echo-prone settings. Cross talk, for instance, can often be hard on a hearing aid. But even in a loud environment, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the individual across from you is talking about as AI filters out unwanted information.
  • Edge mode: This is a user initiated, AI assist mode. In essence, when you have a difficult time hearing, you can activate something known as Edge Mode. This then activates the AI algorithm and the algorithm will get to work trying to make your hearing clearer.
  • Acoustic environment classification: Every room you go into has its own distinct acoustic characteristics. Your hearing aids can handle some of those properties, but others it can’t handle very well. With AI technology, your hearing aid can effortlessly make automatic corrections that allow you to hear better in almost any setting.
  • Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were undoubtedly harder during the pandemic when everybody was wearing a facemask. AI algorithms can automatically amplify those voices behind the facemask, helping people with hearing aids hear better and remain safe simultaneously.

This is most likely only the beginning of the advancements scientists and manufacturers are making.

AI for the field of audiology

These days, AI has sort of become a bit of a buzzword. Everybody’s heard it, which is okay, but the trouble is that AI does different things depending on the contexts. So in terms of the field of audiology, how does AI integrate.

First off, it means that researchers are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more beneficial to patients. This research includes new technologies, such as deep neural networks and machine learning. But hearing aids aren’t all there is to it. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are a couple of the things that AI will probably do in the future.

As the technology expands and becomes more reliable, patients can expect to see artificial intelligence in more of their devices.

AI-assisted hearing aids and their benefits

AI is being integrated into hearing aids not because it’s the hot new fad, in contrast to other industries. These machine learning algorithms provide some considerable benefits to patients. Here are a few of those benefits:

  • Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other array devices can cause your hearing aids to feedback. Machine learning algorithms can help by filtering out this feedback, so all you will hear is the sound you actually want to hear.
  • You have more control over how you hear: Many AI-assisted hearing devices give you the option to turn off those algorithms. So the clarity of sound users hear will be more in their control. And this usually translates into hearing better more often.
  • Social engagement: In terms of managing social interaction, individuals who use AI-assisted hearing aids tend to be more successful, according to some research. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide variety of settings, which probably accounts for better social engagement. Having said that, it’s not completely clear that AI is the deciding factor in keeping your social life healthy. Most likely, it simply helps people who are already social better maintain their relationships.
  • Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re wearing a hearing aid and you take a fall, your AI-assisted device can detect the seriousness of your fall. In some cases, these hearing aids might be programmed to automatically alert authorities or loved ones in the event of a severe fall. AI can also make your health data easier to understand, helping you identify when you should be moving more, eating healthier, or just drinking more water.

What this means for patients

For individuals with AI-assisted hearing aids these benefits frequently become real-world advantages. Imagine you were at a party having a conversation. An older hearing aid would raise the volume on everything. This isn’t helpful because the conversation you actually care about will get drowned out by background noise. With AI, the hearing aid can listen to the noise around you and respond the way your brain would, dulling background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.

AI will create a location-by-location program to deal with the various types of sounds it picks up. These programs help when you go back to a specific location or sound profile. Other hearing aids with AI are programmed with day-to-day sounds in order to better identify and amplify important sounds.

Some of the other practical benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids include the following:

  • Your quality of life will get better.
  • The cognitive burden will be reduced.
  • You won’t be frustrated because you can’t hear (at least, not as frequently).

In other words, it’ll be simpler to hear your favorite shows, hang out with your favorite friends, and take care of your favorite brain.

Reward vs. cost

There was a time when AI wasn’t offered in most hearing aids because of the costs involved. After all, the device itself has to do some intense calculations (an algorithm, after all, is basically a very elegant math problem). However, partially because of the prevalence of the technology, prices for AI hearing devices are beginning to go down.

That’s not saying that those hearing aids will absolutely come down in price soon and you still might wind up choosing a model that doesn’t include AI functionality. Obviously, the decision making is in the hands of the patient. But AI features are becoming more widely available and common.

Finding out what option is best for you

For somebody who lives alone and doesn’t go out very much, hearing aids with AI may not be worth the extra cost. To someone who is socially involved and finds themselves in scenarios with many competing sounds, however, it makes a big difference.

Hearing aids with AI are also useful for somebody who is quickly worn out in social scenarios where the chore of keeping up with conversations using a traditional hearing aid is fatiguing. Social situations are simpler and the user will feel less exhausted with AI hearing aids. AI technology can also send alerts to your phone when the doorbell rings, alert others that you have fallen, and track your steps. As technology and AI develop, hearing aids will continue to too.

Want to see how AI hearing aids can work for you? Call us to schedule an appointment!


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.