No longer solely associated with the idea of all-powerful robots taking over the world, AI has played an important role in the creation of many smart devices in recent years, and this includes next-generation hearing aids. Leading manufacturers such as Oticon, Starkey, and Widex have pioneered a new wave of hearing aids that harness this technology to improve the listening experience they deliver to the user.
What Exactly Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Explained simply, artificial intelligence is a machine’s ability to simulate intelligence similar to this of a human, successfully performing tasks which require ‘intelligent’ decisions by following a certain set of rules (also known as algorithms). Some key concepts you might have heard of in relation to AI are machine learning and deep neural networks.
Machine learning, a subset of AI, allows machines to use algorithms to sort through huge amounts of information and make decisions or predictions based on it.
Deep neural networks (DNNs), on the other hand, are a form of AI which is built in a way that is similar to the human brain by mimicking the way nerve cells work. This allows deep neural networks to respond just like your brain would, removing the need for the system to be explicitly programmed how to react in each given situation.
This technology finds many applications in our daily lives, including Netflix ‘watch next’ recommendations, self-driving cars, even weather forecasting and card fraud protection.
How Do Hearing Aids Use AI?
There are many ways in which hearing aid manufacturers are using AI to create a clearer and more efficient listening experience. Some of those include:
- Personalisation: AI algorithms can be used to analyse your individual hearing profile and adjust the settings of your hearing aids accordingly.
- Noise reduction: AI can reduce background noise and enhance speech in noisy environments.
- Speech recognition: Artificial intelligence algorithms can be trained to better recognise speech, helping hearing aid users understand conversations.
- Directional sound processing: AI-equipped hearing aids can determine the direction of sound sources and thus focus on the most important sounds.
- Adaptive feedback cancellation: Thanks to AI, some hearing aids are able to detect and eliminate feedback, a common problem in hearing aids.
Examples of Hearing Aids with AI Technology
Hearing aid manufacturers are using AI in various ways. Some of the models currently using this technology include:
Oticon More: This device has an on-board deep neural network trained with 12 million real-life sound scenes. This allows it to effortlessly handle a vast variety of environments with unmatched precision and clarity to support the user’s hearing and brain.
Starkey Livio AI: Not only does this model provide the user with advanced sound interpretation, but it also enables them to take a proactive approach to their wellbeing thanks to brain and body activity tracking.
ReSound ONE: Uniquely programmed, the ReSound ONE is equipped with an additional microphone placed inside the user’s ear canal. This small, but powerful device uses Activate Ultra Focus technology to help the microphones better recognise the direction of sound and to improve speech understanding.
Do I Need a Hearing Aid with AI Technology?
One thing is clear: hearing aids that use AI technology optimise the devices’ performance, improving the user’s listening experience in a fundamental manner, and thus- their overall quality of life.
Whether a hearing aid equipped with AI technology would be beneficial for you depends on your type and level of hearing loss, as well as your personal preferences and lifestyle. The best way to determine the most suitable solution for you is to discuss your options with a hearing professional.
We at Hear4U offer comprehensive hearing assessments that are 100% free. They provide us with a full idea of your ability to hear and help us match your hearing loss to the most suitable solution from a wide range of high quality hearing aids. If you think you’d benefit from a free, in-depth hearing test, click the button below to book your appointment with us!