According to the World Health Organization, approximately 466 million people worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss. By 2050, that number is expected to reach more than 900 million.
The statistics are cause for concern, which is why there have been several innovations in recent years to help reduce ear damage as well as help those with permanent hearing loss live a normal life.
From smart devices to artificial intelligence, we’ve compiled five of the latest and greatest assistive technologies that are making a difference for those who experience hearing loss.
One of the contributors to hearing loss is sustained exposure to loud noises, such as concerts or nightclubs. With an Apple Watch, you can set a specific noise threshold—90 decibels for example—and your device will measure sound levels wherever you go throughout the day. Don’t worry, though, the microphone isn’t recording or saving your conversations.
Whenever you’re in a space where the average sound level over three minutes reaches or exceeds the chosen decibel, you’ll receive a notification and that will be your cue to find a quieter setting.
To have access to this feature, you’ll need to have watchOS 6 on an Apple Watch Series 4 or newer.
Artificial Intelligence Hearing Aid
If you’re looking for a device that will not only help you hear better, but also live better, the Livio AI from Starkey is perfect for you.
Using artificial intelligence, the Livio AI hearing aid adapts to your lifestyle and can enhance and filter conversations no matter the setting. It’s ideal for traveling abroad, as it can translate different languages in real-time. Also, if you need to remember details of a specific conversation, the device can transcribe what’s said on command.
In addition to helping improve your hearing, the Livio AI device could potentially save your life as it can detect a fall and alert your loved ones.
When combined with smart devices, IFTTT (If This Then That) can be an invaluable tool for those with hearing loss.
IFTTT allows users to create applets, which are simple conditional statements, between web-based devices and services. For example, if you have a smart smoke detector and smart light bulbs, you can use the applet that will blink your lights if smoke is detected. There’s another applet that will blink your lights when your smart doorbell rings.
Not only is IFTTT very useful for those with hearing loss, but the service is free to use.
Being able to hear your surroundings is incredibly important while operating a vehicle. Unfortunately, for those with hearing loss, driving can be a scary and dangerous task.
Hyundai Motor Group understands the unique challenges driving presents to people with hearing loss and have developed Audio-Visual Conversion. This technology listens to and recognizes sound around the car and displays a corresponding icon on the head-up display. For example, if there is an ambulance approaching from behind, the AVC technology will recognize the sound and display an ambulance icon.
The steering wheel will also play an important role as multi-colored LED lights and slight vibrations will notify the driver of the location of the alert and distance to obstacles.
Captioning Phone Services
Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS), makes it easier for someone with hearing loss to have a telephone conversation. Using an Internet-enabled phone and a caption service provider, the person with hearing loss can make and answer phone calls with confidence because the entire conversation is captioned for them.
One provider of these services is CaptionCall, the captioning service uses live captioning agents who use voice-recognition technology and manual corrections to turn audio of a conversation into captions. This method allows for accurate captions and is the number one recommended captioned telephone solution by hearing-care professionals.
CaptionCall is available at no cost to those with hearing loss that necessitates the use of captions. The captioning service includes installation, captioning phone, training, and customer support are available at no-cost as well.
CaptionCall also has a no-cost mobile app so you can have captioned telephone service on the go.