How AI Helps With Hearing Loss Currently and How It Can Help in the Future
One of the reasons that makes it difficult to address hearing loss is that the way in which each individual experiences hearing loss can be a bit different, which is why a visit to a trained hearing professional is important. Different environments with varying amounts of noise adds an additional layer of complexity to the problem.
A hearing solution that works well for you for having a conversation at home may not work well in a noisy restaurant. If you have any experience with hearing loss, you may understand that the solution isn’t as simple as just making everything louder.
Hearing loss research has seen significant advancements from using artificial intelligence (AI). AI is a system that uses data to recognize patterns, which can then be applied to solve problems. With large amounts of data, AI is able to navigate through complex problems involving many variables.
We will take you through how AI has been used for hearing loss so far and the potential for AI to help with hearing loss in the future.
Current uses of AI in hearing loss
You may have already encountered the use of AI already without knowing it. A common use of AI is to recognize speech. This technology has been applied to provide automated closed captioning for video services to help those with hearing loss.
Some audiologists have started to also use AI to help fitting hearing aids. In these cases, the audiologist would play different sounds for you and software with AI functions would provide suggestions to tune the hearing aid.
To provide a more direct impact on hearing loss, AI is used in increasingly sophisticated hearing aids. Early uses of AI were used to create pre-trained models for different environments. The hearing aid would then have different modes with different frequencies preset for environments such as being at home, in restaurants or in front of the television.
Newer hearing aids with AI are able to listen to the environment and automatically make adjustments as necessary. These hearing aids can actively lower background noise while also working to increase the volume of voices, making it easier to hear speech.
Future uses of AI in hearing loss
AI is being used to help achieve the aim of getting as close as possible to replicating how the brain hears sounds without hearing loss. Hearing aids with AI technology will automatically adjust to best match each individual’s hearing needs.
AI is able to create a balanced, personalized output by scanning the sounds in an environment, identifying the elements of different sounds and understanding how to process each element. By listening to the voices that you hear often, the AI could emphasize voices from certain individuals while reducing others.
More advanced use of AI may be able to tackle some of the trickiest situations for people with hearing loss, such as focusing on conversations between multiple people in a noisy environment. Further in the future, to prioritize the voice of interest, which may constantly shift among speakers, the AI could determine which voice to focus on by tracking the neural activity of the brain.
Another possibility to focus on a particular speaker in the future would be to use augmented reality (AR) glasses, which is a pair of glasses that provides information to the wearer. Eye-tracking technology would allow the AI to know in which direction to focus while the glasses could provide automated captions to supplement the speech in case the wearer still has trouble making out the speech.
While the future is full of bright possibilities when applying AI to help with hearing loss, a lot of work is still required to get there. Luckily, we have seen considerable progress. Advanced hearing aids are already able to suppress unwanted noise to allow you to focus on voices. All it takes is a visit to a trained practitioner, such as the professionals at NexGen Hearing, to get a hearing aid expertly adjusted to your individual hearing needs.