The Synergy of Hearing Aids and AI

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

When someone mentions artificial intelligence (AI), it may arouse thoughts of your favorite sci-fi movie. But today, AI is a reality that we all need to get used to. With regard to hearing aids, this is particularly true. Gone is the time of one-size-fits-all hearing aids that just raise the volume of sounds around you. Modern-day, high-end hearing aids use AI.

What is artificial intelligence?

AI is a form of technology that makes use of complex algorithms to produce new results from inputs of data. In doing this, AI algorithms take part in a type of learning, appropriately called “machine learning”. As soon as the algorithm is working correctly, there’s no need to “program” the AI to generate each separate result.

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

How can you hear better with AI?

This might seem a little abstract at first. After all, hearing aids seem to have a pretty basic function. How can adding AI to the situation improve things? Well, picture a recording studio with the soundboard full of switches and knobs. (Maybe you’ve seen them in movies.) Your hearing aid contains one of those! (It’s tiny.) Better quality of sound can be achieved by altering these settings. With hearing aids that are powered by AI, these settings are changed automatically without needing you to do anything.

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

This is the same technology that allows streaming services to recommend movies according to your viewing history, though it probably sounds like futuristic technology at first. Newer cars use this technology to help you drive more safely and your email provider utilizes it to auto-sort emails into your inbox. The more you utilize these devices, the more reliable they become at making proper decisions.

AI hearing aids – new advances

These days, hearing aids are integrating several brand new advances in AI to help you hear even better. Here are some of the best examples:

  • Noisy room filters: New AI algorithms can help to filter out room noise in a variety of loud or echo-prone settings. A hearing aid can have a difficult time with cross-talk, for instance. But even in a loud environment, you’ll be able to hear more clearly what the person across from you is talking about as AI filters out unwanted information.
  • Helping you hear through facemasks: Conversations were certainly more difficult during the pandemic when everyone was wearing a facemask. You can stay safer and hear better at the same time as AI algorithms can amplify the voice behind the facemask.
  • Edge mode: This is an assist mode which can be initiated by the user. Essentially, you can activate something known as edge mode whenever you’re having a hard time hearing. This then activates the AI algorithm and the algorithm will start working to make your hearing clearer.
  • Acoustic environment classification: Distinctive audio properties come with each individual room you go into. Your hearing aids can deal with some of those properties, but others it can’t handle very well. With AI technology, your hearing aid can effectively make automatic adjustments that allow you to hear better in nearly any environment.

Hearing aid makers and scientists are continuously developing new hearing aid technologies, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg.

AI for the discipline of audiology

These days, AI has sort of become a bit of a buzzword. Depending on the context, AI does different things, which can in some cases result in confusion. So, what does AI mean for the discipline of audiology?

First, it means that researchers are looking for ways to make hearing aids even more helpful to patients. New technologies, like machine learning and deep neural networks, are included in this research. But it’s not just hearing aids. In the future, AI might be able to help with detecting hearing loss or even helping patients avoid future hearing loss.

Patients will find AI in more and more of their devices as the technology becomes more dependable.

The benefits of AI-assisted hearing aids

AI is being incorporated into hearing aids not because it’s the popular new fad, in contrast to other industries. Some considerable benefits to patients are provided by these machine learning algorithms. Among those benefits are the following:

  • Social engagement: When it comes to dealing with social interaction, individuals who utilize AI-assisted hearing aids are likely to be more successful, according to some research. This is most likely because the speech they hear is clearer in a wider variety of settings. Having said that, it’s not entirely clear that AI is the defining factor in keeping your social life healthy. Most likely, it simply helps those who are already social better preserve their relationships.
  • You have more control over how you hear: You can turn on AI or turn it off with most AI-assisted hearing aids. So the clarity of sound users hear will be more in their control. And this often translates into hearing better more frequently.
  • 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.
  • Health tracking and fall prevention: When you’re wearing a hearing aid and you take a tumble, your AI-assisted device can determine the severity of your fall. In the event of a serious fall, these hearing aids can, in some cases, alert the Authorities. AI can also make your health data easier to understand, helping you identify when you should be exercising more, eating better, or just drinking more water.

What this means for patients

These benefits frequently become real-world advantages for individuals who use these AI-assisted hearing aids. Imagine you were at a party having a discussion. An older hearing aid would raise the volume on everything. And unfortunately, background noise also gets boosted making it impossible to hear voices. With AI, the hearing aid can tune in to the noise around you and react the way your brain would, dulling background noise and focusing on your friends’ voices.

AI learns to identify sounds and generates a location-by-location program. These programs help when you return to a particular 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.

Here are some other practical benefits to AI-assisted hearing aids:

  • You will feel less frustrated because you will be able to hear better.
  • Your brain will experience a decreased cognitive burden.
  • You will have improved quality of life.

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

Reward vs. cost

Because of the costs, AI wasn’t offered in most hearing aids until recent times. An algorithm is, in fact, an intricate math equation. But prices are decreasing, partially due to the prevalence of the technology.

This doesn’t mean that every hearing aid you want may have AI, or even that those hearing aids will necessarily be less expensive in the near future. Clearly, patients will still need to make important decisions. But AI functions are becoming more readily available and common.

Figuring out what option is best for you

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

Hearing aids with AI are also useful for someone who is quickly worn out in social scenarios where the task of keeping up with conversations using a traditional hearing aid is exhausting. Social situations are easier and the user will feel less tired with AI hearing aids. 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 see how AI hearing aids can work for you? Make an appointment with us right away.


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.