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Hearing Aids and Artificial Intelligence

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Hearing Aids and Artificial Intelligence

Peter Lucier, HIS

Peter studied hearing aid fitting at the world headquarters of Starkey Labs. He was able to have hands on training with the company’s founder, Bill Austin. He has also undergone advanced training in the smallest, nearly invisible style hearing aids, and has expanded his education by traveling to Denmark to learn directly from European hearing aid manufacturers. He continues to attend conferences and training seminars to stay current on the rapidly evolving world of hearing aid technology.
Peter Lucier, HIS

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We perform the most optimally when all our senses are working their best. Hearing is no exception. Hearing is the part of life that helps us hold conversations with the ones we love, enjoy our favorite music and musical artists, and even warn of us danger in public like approaching vehicles in traffic.

Unfortunately, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, over 48 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss. The numbers are no better worldwide, affecting about 466 million people; 34 million being children. Hearing loss, then, is not solely a condition for adults. Studies report about every 2 to 3 out of 1,000 children to have a detectable hearing loss in one or both ears.

Causes of hearing loss

Some challenges with hearing are hereditary. Genetic mutations in the cells can alter the way the inner ear develops, thus resulting in hearing loss.

Sources can also come from illnesses like an infectious disease, a collection of fluid in the ear, too much exposure to noise, and head injuries. Improper cleaning of the ear canal will not positively affect hearing ability, either.

The degree of loss varies by certain factors such as age, lifestyle, and gender. Men are almost twice as likely to be affected by hearing loss than women between the ages of 20 and 69.

How everyday life is impacted by hearing loss

If allowed to go untreated can be detrimental in development. For example, children with hearing complications can experience loss in social situations, which can affect their confidence. At a time when children and adolescents are sensitive to their environment and peer, hearing loss could adversely affect their emotional growth and stability.

Adults who experience loss of hearing may miss out on important information at the job, be overlooked for work advancement, or experience a reduction in social encounters. Hearing loss is attributed to accidents, stresses in home life, and an increase in unfavorable health conditions. Hearing loss, in many cases, can lead to depression and even be a precursor to dementia.

The Evolution of Hearing Aids

It’s true when most imagine a hearing aid they likely think of an unsightly, oversized device protruding from someone’s ear. The fact is, though, hearing aids are evolving in size, structure, and discretion. Many affected adults avoid seeking solutions to their hearing loss until many years after it’s become an issue, but it doesn’t need to be this way.

Hearing aids are not new. In fact, some of the first hearing aids dating back to the 17th century. They’ve gone from fashion accessories to battery operated technology. Now, AI is in the mix and making hearing aids perform better and smarter for people affected by hearing loss.

The Relationship Between Artificial Intelligence and Hearing Aids

Artificial Intelligence is here. It’s the way of the future, and nearly everything in our daily lives will incorporate some use of AI (hello, Jetsons-era). Regarding hearing aids, AI stands to improve their functionality by reducing background noise. Instead, AI can pick up solely on individual voices or sounds so the hearer can better distinguish what they’re intended to hear. Newer models will also serve as health monitoring devices, which can be invaluable for aging adults who still want to enjoy their independence.

As artificial intelligence receives more and more information, globally, the opportunity to bridge communication gaps gets smaller. The Livio AI hearing aid is stepping up to the challenge by inviting a clear sound that mimics natural life. Even better, it’s a wearable technology that tracks the wearer’s daily activity. More helpful features include translating abilities and measuring brain health.

Better Hearing, Better Life

Good hearing improves quality of life. Rather than being socially outcast or suffering from embarrassment, hearing gives us greater control over our lives, better relationships with people with whom we communicate, and increases joys in everyday activities.

Hearing aids that utilize AI technology are giving people who suffer from hearing loss a bit of their life back. Sound quality will be more authentic and crisper, and the smarter they get, the more they can do. There’s a world of potential for artificial intelligence and hearing aids.

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