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Hearing Aids & Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) involves computers that are able to perform tasks characteristic of human intelligence. Machines that can understand language, plan, and learn all use AI. Machine learning is a way of achieving artificial intelligence for a computer: it is basically training a computer to learn things via data and algorithms.

One of the first machine learning programs was designed to do one simple task: play chess. It did not have to play chess well, at least not at first. Over time, it played enough games of chess to ‘learn’ which moves worked. This learning curve led the machine to become increasingly good at the game, later going on to beat the world’s best chess players.

The same idea was used to teach a computer to learn other activities. Indeed, AI has allowed innovators to incorporate machine learning in almost everything. Perhaps you heard about these developments in self-driving cars, smartphones and smart homes, but did you know that AI is also being used in hearing aids?

How hearing aids can benefit from AI

Sound is complex. We never want to hear everything possible in an environment. The arrival of digital hearing aids in the 90s went a long way towards categorizing sounds to reduce noise and aid in speech comprehension. But AI goes one step further.

The current generation of hearing aids tend to classify sound environments in simple terms, such as ‘quiet’ or ‘noisy’. It then uses this information to provide appropriate sound settings.  Although useful, these classifiers paint environments with a very broad brush and may not always help provide the best sound.

You could call this a ‘prediction-only’ method to signal processing because the computer is making a prediction, and not confirming it with any user data. But because there are so many variables in a sound environment that influence speech comprehension, another question is posed with machine learning programs – is this particular setting helping the user hear better or not? This can be called the ‘confirmation approach’ to signal processing.

The possibility to satisfy the needs of the user is greater with Artificial Intelligence hearing aid systems because they conduct sophisticated analysis of the sound environment and adapt their performance to the requirements of the user, based on settings that actually help the user at the given time.

Current uses of AI in hearing aids

Although AI is still in its infancy when it comes to hearing aids, there are a few hearing solutions currently available which are using the technology to automatically improve their performance for their users.

Some new hearing aids can learn in real-time with adaptive controls that guide users to their preferred hearing experience, which reduces the need for follow up visits and programming adjustments later. Others can monitor the user’s health by tracking the presence of speech and other noise, along with your steps and other movement, to create a score for overall activity and social engagement.

Kenwood Hearing Centers

Contact us today in Kenwood Hearing Centers if you are looking for a new pair of hearing aids and are interested in the latest technologies. We provide extensive hearing health services and support you in finding specialized listening aids to improve your hearing and your connections to others.

Posted in Hearing Aid Technology, Hearing Aids