Upcoming Tech In Audiology: Innovations To Expect In The Not-Too-Distant Future

A lot has changed in the last decade for audiologists and other hearing care professionals, but even more innovations are on the horizon. Not only will the existing technology empowering hearing solutions improve, but brand-new tech that never existed before in audiology will also be introduced for the first time. Let’s shed light on those statements by looking at some facts.

Upcoming Tech In Audiology: Innovations To Expect In The Not-Too-Distant Future

Live Subtitles In Real Life With Augmented Reality

What has so far been limited to science fiction in pop culture may soon be brought into real-life existence with the help of advanced augmented reality. People suffering from deafness or partial hearing loss could be able to read people’s speech in real-time, simply by wearing a pair of augmented reality glasses.

The effect would be similar to that of reading subtitles while watching a movie or a show on-screen. However, instead of reading subtitles on a screen, they will be able to read what people around them are saying anywhere and at any time. In many ways, the experience would be akin to playing a video game with subtitles turned on, as the speech-to-text interpretations will appear right below the person who is speaking.

Although it seems too futuristic at first glance, the core technology that will power the AR interpretive glasses is already here. To understand why that’s true, all we need to do is take a look at the necessary tech that is already here.

·       Speech recognition: Voice Searches.

·       Real-time speech-to-text: Live captions.

·       Language translation: Online speech translation.

·       Augmented reality: Smart glasses

It’s an ongoing venture to integrate all of them into one product and come up with a pair of AR eyeglasses light enough for prolonged usage. It may take some time to iron out all the kinks, but there is no doubt that AR glasses with live speech subtitles will be coming soon. When the technology matures into practical products, it will make the world a lot more accessible to people with severe hearing disabilities.

Unified Business Growth Solutions For The Hearing Care Industry

There is a lack of unification and organization in the hearing care industry, which negatively affects professionals and their patients more than anyone else. The biggest brands in hearing solutions are partnering up with audiologists and hearing aid specialists across the world right now to remedy the problem, but there’s still some way to go.

Expect the development of more unified business hubs where manufacturers and professionals in the hearing care industry will be able to work together with the goals of:

·       Providing better, faster, and updated service to those with hearing disabilities.

·       Growing commercially by developing a global community of interconnected manufacturers, designers, and care providers.

·       Developing more advanced solutions for the future with a collaborative effort in a resource-rich environment.

Visit www.phonak.com/en-us/professionals for more information about how the global hub growing right now, as well as their plans for the hub’s growth in the near future.

Upcoming Tech In Audiology: Innovations To Expect In The Not-Too-Distant Future

Hearing Aid Apps Will Receive More Advanced Modulation Options

A hearing aid must be modulated to precisely match the wearer’s hearing loss in both type and degree. Hearing aid specialists are trained to do it with acute precision for each patient. However, most hearing aids do not yet come with advanced modulation apps, thus limiting the specialist’s ability to fine-tune the devices beyond a point. Sometimes, an application may present advanced adjustment options that don’t work as well as they are expected to, mostly because of incompetent hardware.

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That is about to change because the number of digital hearing aids with advanced modulation apps is increasing. Aside from enabling advanced digital modulation of the hearing system itself, they also enable advanced active noise cancellation control on supported devices. Depending on the app, the professional, the patient, and the device itself, this makes it possible for people with hearing disabilities to focus on just one person in a crowded room.

Active noise cancellation (ANC) is one of the most complicated tasks to achieve for a hearing aid system, so there is still room for a lot of improvement here. In a short while though, the ANC functions on hearing aids are expected to improve in two main ways.

1.     Technicians will have access to all modulation options and data they need to improve the hearing system’s practical functionality via the app itself.

2.     The hardware components used to fine-tune ANC for intentional focus on speech will be upgraded to make the apps’ modulation impacts more prominent.

Cellular Regrowth Of The Inner Ear

Despite the advancements we have made so far in artificial intelligence and robotics, no artificial component can replace the human ear in its true sense. While that may or may not become feasible in the distant future, a more practical solution is closer to becoming publicly available. It might soon be possible to induce cellular regrowth in damaged inner ears by chemically stimulating the Organ of Corti. The stimulation might even be strong enough to induce completely new cellular growth in the cochlea as well.

If it proves to be as effective as the reports suggest, then someone born without any ability to hear may also benefit from the chemical stimulation. The right candidates could be able to grow new inner ear hairs that they did not have at any point before. The effectiveness of the treatment is yet to be tested in any known capacity, but the biochemical stimulation can potentially help a portion of the deaf population start hearing sounds naturally. As for those with moderate hearing loss, complete recovery of their original hearing range can be expected in at least some instances.

It seems like the upcoming evolutions in biotech, medical science, and digital technology may finally be able to provide us with a cure for deafness. The possibility may not be as far away as previously believed. It will be a while before the solutions fully materialize and then mature of course, but there is a somewhat predictable timeline that we can look forward to.

Images: Adobe Stock.