How Virtual Assistants Can Assist Those with Hearing Loss

In Hearing Health, Hearing Loss by Jack Felix, ACA, BC, HISLeave a Comment

Jack Felix, ACA, BC, HIS
Latest posts by Jack Felix, ACA, BC, HIS (see all)

Virtual assistants are a form of voice-based technology that is used to provide digital assistance. They function by recognizing a person’s speech and performing a particular task articulated vocally using artificial intelligence (and machine learning). 

These devices are primarily used to answer questions and carry out commands such as opening a particular app, getting directions, making a phone call, or playing a song. The following are some common examples with which you can interact regularly:

  • Apple’s Siri is one of the most well-known.
  • Google Home is a virtual assistant developed by Google.
  • Alexa is an Amazon virtual assistant.
People with hearing loss may benefit from virtual assistants

Did you know that some hearing aids can also connect to virtual assistants? Bluetooth technology allows hearing aids to connect to your smartphone and access the virtual assistant. 

Those with hearing loss can also improve their quality of life in various ways by experimenting with this kind of technology. Hearing aid manufacturers are just beginning to incorporate virtual assistant technology with hearing aids, allowing you to do the following:

  • Remind yourself: Do you often forget to take your medication or clean your hearing aids? You can set up automated reminders for your virtual assistant. You can, for example, set a daily reminder to take your medications at a particular time. 
  • Set up routines: Do you have any morning or evening activities you do every day? You can start a whole routine with just one voice command that you program. For example, you can tell Alexa to ‘play’ your morning routine by saying, “good morning Alexa.” You can program your routine to include things like turning up the volume on your phone ringer, reading out daily calendar reminders, reminding you to put your hearing aids on, and even reading you the weather or the news.
  • Calling without using your hands: Digital assistants have the advantage of allowing you to make calls without having to use your hands. A simple voice order, such as “call Frank” or “call 911,” would automatically dial your phone.
  • List-making: Virtual assistants may also assist you in various other ways, such as making a shopping list or dictating a short note. You don’t need to have a pen and paper on hand; simply ask your assistant to jot down something.

Hearing aids and artificial intelligence

Voice assistants aren’t the only way you can leverage new technology with hearing aids. Artificial intelligence has also made huge waves in recent years. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) programs are being developed in hearing aids to make you hear much better than before. AI programs will remember your favorite listening settings and change them automatically the next time you’re in the listening area. You won’t have to fiddle with your phone, and you’ll have more time to enjoy great hearing.

AI technology is only used in a few hearing aids. The Widex EVOKE hearing aid, which uses the SoundSense Learn app to customize the listening experience, is one hearing aid with AI technology. When making automatic changes to programs and settings, it takes into account the wearer’s listening habits. When you have trouble hearing, open the EVOKE software and use one of two sound settings. Choose the best and keep doing so until you’ve discovered the best settings for the environment you are in. Your hearing aids will automatically change the next time you’re in an environment with a similar sound profile, and they’ll learn what works best for you.

Another AI hearing aid is Starkey’s Livio AI, which incorporates AI technology with advanced sensors to detect the body and brain health. This hearing aid, like a Fitbit or other body track, will help you stay safe. The ear is much more accurate than the wrist in terms of readings, and these smart hearing aids will learn what is natural for your body. A warning may be sent to family and friends if something is wrong or the system senses dangerous changes in heartbeat, breathing rate, or body temperature. The AI technology will learn your listening habits. You’ll be able to adjust settings by tapping your ear instead of using your hearing aid.

Are you looking for hearing aids that can connect to virtual assistants or hearing aids that use artificial intelligence (AI)? Contact us to learn more about new hearing technologies and how these services can help you hear better and live life more conveniently.

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