Modern hearing systems can reduce safety risks (e.g. in traffic) and improve quality of life. In addition, they have been shown to improve clarity when speaking. With modern hearing aids, not only can you understand others better, but they can follow you more easily.
Going digital with hearing aids.
There are basic differences between analog and digital hearing aids. Digital devices are based on the latest current technology. Their advantages are so numerous that they have almost completely replaced the analog devices on the market. Today, almost 100 percent of all devices sold are digital. Modern hearing aids have built-in microprocessors that can process sound just like a computer. You can process millions of pieces of information to produce excellent sound quality in the smallest of spaces.
Nowadays, digitalization also plays an important role in modern hearing systems. Modern hearing aids can be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth to a smartphone or smartwatch. If the hearing aid is paired with a cell phone, calls can easily be made directly from the hearing aid using Android, iOS, or other operating systems. Hearing aids can often also be controlled via the relevant app on the smartphone. Using a so-called smart remote control, the corresponding hearing program can be wirelessly adapted to the background noise and the hearing aid volume can be set separately for both ears. For example, in a restaurant off the beaten track, the hoarseness of the sound can be suppressed so that you can concentrate on the other person. Ambient noises such as street noise can be muted, and natural noises such as birdsong can be amplified. Some applications or hearing aids will automatically recognize the acoustic environment and adapt automatically. There are also apps that contain helpful tips and instructions on how to use and care for your hearing aid, as well as apps for people with tinnitus that provide a separate library of sounds to reduce tinnitus. Some models can also be connected wirelessly to a TV or audio device. This turns your hearing aid into a wireless headset that feeds sound directly into your ears so you can enjoy the full sound.
So-called wearables – small smart devices that are worn on the body – have been on the market for some time. These include smartwatches or fitness wristbands. These wearables are now also available for the ear: hearing devices. These are smart headphones, for example, that provide wireless connectivity to smartphones, sensors for medical monitoring, and activity trackers. These wearables or hearing devices are primarily aimed at people with complete hearing, which is why audible devices are not equated with hearing aids. While hearing aids are primarily used to filter noise for people with good hearing who do not want to hear, hearing aids provide an overall better hearing experience for people with hearing loss. Hearables have therefore attracted interest as lifestyle products that transmit lifestyle, music, phone, and other digital signals directly to the ear.
Invisible Hearing Aids.
Phonak’s Lyric is the first 100% invisible hearing aid. Because the lyrics are located deep in the ear canal, they cannot be seen from the outside. It can be worn for months and uses the anatomy of the ear for natural hearing. With its modern technology, you can wear a Lyric during all your daily activities and sports and enjoy the natural sound with an invisible hearing aid.
Titanium Hearing Aids.
Some hearing aids are made of medical titanium. This ensures that the heating system is strong, lightweight, and durable. These hearing aids not only have minimal dimensions but also fit perfectly in the ear canal thanks to their customizability. They are discreet as well as waterproof and dustproof. In addition, thanks to the latest technology, the titanium hearing aids automatically adapt to environmental noise without the need for manual settings.
Rechargeable Hearing Aids.
Hearing aids make life easier. But changing batteries frequently and having to carry them around to replace them on long trips were often considered annoying. The latest generation of hearing aids use batteries, so these concerns are a thing of the past. Because once the batteries are charged, they provide up to 24 hours of undisturbed listening pleasure. Thanks to new technology, lithium-ion batteries are also 40 percent more durable than conventional models. With the charger, you can charge your hearing aids just as easily as your cell phone. In some models, the charging stand can even be used to dry the hearing aid and serve as a protective hard case at the same time. If you forget to charge your hearing aid due to short charging times and moving the charger around, that’s no problem. Another advantage of hearing aids with rechargeable batteries is that they no longer need to be discarded in the future. This is because there is a lot of waste. A person with hearing aids in both ears will use about 500 zinc-air batteries in five years, depending on how they are used. Hearing systems with rechargeable batteries are not only easier to use, but they are also more environmentally friendly.
How will hearing aids work in the future?
Despite the tremendous technological advances of the past, hearing aids are still not a complete replacement for human hearing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 466 million people worldwide rely on technological hearing aids. Research and development are underway to enable affected people to hear better. There are various ways in which hearing aids will work and be controlled in the future.
Control by viewing direction
Modern models of hearing aid wearers speaking should be able to follow the movements of the head or eyes. Thus, one day it will be possible to control who or what you want to hear by looking.
In the near future, it will be possible to control hearing aids with your own thoughts. Scientists hope to develop hearing aids that can dynamically adapt to the wishes of the wearer. Thus, if you stand between two conversation groups and want to listen to only one, the hearing aid will recognize what you want to hear and send only the conversation you want.
Regenerative cells in the inner ear
Researchers at Harvard University and the University of Southern California have found a way to regenerate cells in the ear through animal experiments. The key advance over previous attempts is that they have found a way to restore the damaged nerves and cells to their proper role with drugs.