AI and Hearing Aids – the Synergy

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

You may think of your favorite sci-fi movie when somebody starts talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But today, AI is a reality that we all better get used to. This is particularly true with regard to hearing aids. The days when hearing aids simply amplified the volume and were one-size-fits-all are gone for good. Contemporary, high-end hearing aids utilize AI.

Artificial intelligence – what exactly is it?

AI is a type of technology that uses complex algorithms to generate new results from inputs of data. In this way, AI algorithms engage in a kind of learning, aptly called “machine learning”. With AI the user doesn’t need to program every individual result because the algorithm does that by itself.

Depending on the amount of hearing loss, lifestyle, and habits, AI in hearing aids can make modifications depending on your behaviors and your requirements. Your hearing aids will be more effective at improving your ability to hear because of this.

How can you hear better with AI?

At first, this may seem a bit abstract. Hearing aids do seem to have a straightforward function, after all. How can adding AI to the mix enhance things? Well, imagine a recording studio with the soundboard full of buttons and knobs. (Maybe you’ve seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid contains one of those! (It’s tiny.) Better sound quality can be obtained by modifying these settings. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are changed automatically without requiring you to do anything.

These smart devices use a deep neural network to re-create human brain responses. Without even being programmed to, these devices respond to real-time situations because of this.

This is the same technology that lets streaming services suggest movies according to your viewing history, though it most likely sounds like space-aged technology at first. AI is also found in cars and the emails auto-sorted into your inbox. The more you use these devices, the more reliable they become at making correct decisions.

New advances in AI hearing aids

Presently, hearing aids are incorporating several brand new advances in AI to help you hear even better. Some of the best instances include the following:

  • Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a variety of loud or echo-prone settings. Cross talk, for example, can often be hard on a hearing aid. But even in a loud setting, you’ll be capable of hearing more clearly what the person across from you is talking about as AI filters out unwanted information.
  • Acoustic environment classification: Every room you walk into has its own unique acoustic properties. Your hearing aids can handle some of those properties, but others it doesn’t do so well with. With AI technology, your hearing aid can effortlessly make automatic adjustments that let you hear better in just about any environment.
  • Edge mode: This is a user initiated, AI assist mode. Basically, when you have a hard time hearing, you can activate something called Edge Mode. When this is activated AI will start working on cleaning up what you’re hearing.
  • Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were definitely harder during the pandemic when everyone was wearing a facemask. You can remain safer and hear better simultaneously as AI algorithms can amplify the voice beneath the facemask.

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

How is AI employed in the field of audiology?

AI has become somewhat of a buzzword these days. Depending on the application, AI does different things, which can sometimes lead to confusion. So, what does AI mean for the discipline of audiology?

First off, it means that scientists are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more helpful to patients. This research includes new technologies, like deep neural networks and machine learning. But hearing aids aren’t the whole story. Helping patients hear better and even diagnosing hearing loss are some things that AI will likely do in the future.

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

The benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids

Unlike some other industries, AI isn’t being incorporated into hearing aids simply because it’s the popular new thing. Some considerable benefits to patients are offered by these machine learning algorithms. Here are some of those benefits:

  • Helping you listen to devices: Microphones from cell phones, speaker phones, televisions, and other myriad devices can cause feedback in your hearing aids. This feedback can be filtered out by machine learning algorithms so the sound you actually want to hear is the only sound you will hear.
  • Social engagement: Studies have revealed that those who use AI-assisted hearing aids are more successful with regard to dealing with their social engagement. The speech that they hear will be clearer in a wide array of settings, which likely accounts for better social engagement. But that doesn’t automatically mean AI will make-or-break your social life. It most likely just helps people better preserve the relationships they already have.
  • You have more control over how you hear: Many AI-assisted hearing aids give you the option to turn those algorithms on or off. So the quality of sound users hear will be more in their control. And this often means hearing better more often.
  • Health tracking and fall prevention: If you accidentally fall while you’re wearing your hearing aids, your AI-assisted devices may be able to detect the significance and seriousness of your tumble. If there is a serious fall, these hearing aids can, in some situations, alert the Authorities. AI can also make your health information easier to understand, helping you identify when you should be exercising more, eating healthier, or just hydrating more.

What this means for patients

These benefits frequently result in real-world advantages for people who use these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you were at a party having a discussion. If you were using an older-style hearing aid, it would just crank the volume up. And unfortunately, background noise also gets boosted making it difficult to hear voices. With AI, the hearing aid can tune in to the noise around you and respond the way your brain would, lowering background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.

AI learns to identify sounds and generates a location-by-location program. If you go back to a particular location or sound profile, AI can initiate these algorithms. In order to better identify and amplify important sounds, some AI hearing aids are programmed with everyday sounds.

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

  • You will feel less frustrated because you will be able to hear better.
  • The cognitive load will be decreased.
  • You will have improved quality of life.

You will be able to hang out with friends again, watch your favorite shows, and take good care of your brain, in other words.

Cost vs. reward

There was a time when AI was not available in most hearing aids owing to the costs involved. An algorithm is, in fact, a complex math equation. However, partially because of the preponderance of the technology, prices for AI hearing aids are starting to go down.

That’s not saying that those hearing aids will definitely come down in price soon and you still might wind up wanting a model that doesn’t have AI functionality. Obviously, patients will still have to make important choices. But AI features are becoming more readily available and common.

Figuring out what option is best for you

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

For somebody who uses traditional hearing aids and still gets fatigued easily in social situations, AI hearing aids would be really helpful. AI-powered hearing aids reduce the listener’s exhaustion and make social situations more enjoyable. When the doorbell rings, or when you have a fall AI technology can alert you or a loved one and it can even track your steps. As technology and AI develop, hearing aids will continue to as well.

Want to find out how AI hearing aids can work for you? Give us a call to make 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.