The first hearing aid was little more than a metallic tube that you inserted into the ear. Today’s hearing assistance technology looks like it came from a completely different universe. Digital hearing aids are more advanced and sophisticated than they’ve ever been—and 2022 is shaping up to be another banner year for innovation.
Imagine being able to hear a conversation in even the noisiest, most crowded bar. Being able to translate any language into your native tongue instantly. Having a virtual assistant at your beck and call that can connect you, in real-time, to a doctor or audiologist.
These are just a few ways hearing aids will evolve in 2022 and beyond.
Common knowledge holds that if you want an accurate hearing test, go to an audiologist rather than using a smartphone app. For the most part, this still holds true. It’s unlikely that there will ever be a substitute for an examination by a trained professional with medical-grade diagnostic tools.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t see innovations that put greater ownership of hearing health directly into our hands. Consumer-grade diagnostics tools like the TYM Otoscope hit the market in 2018 but languished in relative obscurity.
Flash-forward to today, though, and the telehealth revolution driven by COVID-19 has put the spotlight back on this kind of tech. We expect that in 2022, we’ll see more diagnostic tools being made available to consumers, and more audiologists integrating support for this unique type of remote care.
This year, we got a taste of how artificial intelligence can empower and enhance audiology. Moving into 2022, we’ll likely see the further proliferation of AI-driven diagnostic techniques at clinics. But that’s not the only way AI will reshape hearing health.
Smart hearing aids are all the rage. At its most basic, onboard AI allows a hearing aid to dynamically adjust settings based on user preferences and location. More sophisticated algorithms allow a hearing aid to focus on the most important sounds, mimic the growth and development of the brain, track fitness and health, and even provide a live translation of other languages.
The Consumerization of Audiology
Today’s hearing aids are more than solely medical devices, and their design reflects that. As it becomes more difficult to differentiate based on sound quality, manufacturers are instead focusing on aesthetic design and extra features. Modern hearing aids don’t just help you hear better, they’re designed to help you look good while doing it.
Concurrent with this push for consumer-focused design, in 2022, we’ll see hearing aids hit the consumer market en-mass. A proposal finalized by the FDA earlier this year will make over-the-counter hearing aids available to millions of Americans. There’s little doubt that manufacturers will seize on this development, nor that it will shape what newly-released hearing aids look like in the coming year.
A Bright Future Ahead
Technology aside, there’s also a great deal of exciting research in the works around hearing health. Although we’re not going to see anything hit the market in 2022, research into new treatments for hearing impairment and deafness is ongoing, ranging from new drugs to gene editing. Imagine, if you would, a future where hearing loss no longer exists.
Through the wonders of modern medicine, that future may be nearer than you realize.
About the Author:
Pauline Dinnauer is the VP of Audiological Care at Connect Hearing, which provides industry-leading hearing loss, hearing testing, and hearing aid consultation across the US.
The post 3 Innovative Developments That Will Reshape Hearing Health in 2022 appeared first on Hello Miss Niki.