Keep Your Eye on These in the New Year
As an exciting new year nears, what can you expect in the world of hearing wellness? We’re taking a look at six trends to keep your eye on for 2023 and beyond.
Aah, the convenience of rechargeability:
- Less waste
- Easy charge-and-go convenience
- No fussing with spent disposable batteries that require removal and replacement
With an increasing number of hearing aid manufacturers offering rechargeable options for devices, it’s just a matter of time before they become the default. True, the smallest hearing aids that fit completely in the ear may not yet be widely available in rechargeable styles, but stay tuned. A breakthrough could be just around the corner!
The unprecedented global public-health challenges over the last couple years have called for adaption and innovation. An example: The rise of telehealth or video-based patient-provider appointments. Though not unheard of before the pandemic, telehealth rose in prominence as digital companies and others stepped up with apps and improved platforms to help keep health care accessible amid lockdowns, quarantines, and distancing.
One federal study of Medicare health care access showed a significant increase in patient telehealth participation during the pandemic — from an estimated 840,000 in 2019 to over 52 million in 2020. Overall, telehealth use has jumped 38-fold from pre-COVID rates. And with consumers and the industry embracing it even more as an additional option for effective patient-provider engagement, it’s here to stay.
You may have heard about over-the-counter (OTC) hearing technology, a new class of devices in the U.S. regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and approved for those 18 and older with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. OTCs are expected to soon join the market, representing a new option for some consumers exploring their hearing-health needs.
The good news? OTCs could spur more people to consider seeking help for hearing loss — a growing global problem expected to impact some 700 million children and adults by 2050. However, self-treating for hearing issues rather than seeking help from licensed hearing care professionals can lead to under- or overtreatment, making it important to get a comprehensive evaluation before deciding on solutions.
Curious whether you might be a candidate for OTCs? View our OTC checklist.
4. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Speaking of a growing global problem: Excess noise is one of the culprits behind an increasing risk of hearing loss among people ranging from preteens to mid-30s. Why? Popular activities such as using personal media players, hitting the club, enjoying a game at the sports arena, and rocking out at concerts can be lots of fun while also being hard on the ears — especially at noise levels beyond the danger threshold of 85 decibels.
Noise exposure is one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss. A few simple steps can help keep this harmful trend from gaining any more stream:
- Limiting the amount of time exposed to loud sounds
- Wearing quality hearing protection customized to your ears
- Turning the volume down on personal audio devices
- Staying atop your hearing health with annual evaluations
Whether streaming TV audio, jazz tunes, telephone calls, or your favorite morning-show radio duo, being able to channel sounds right to your hearing aids is pretty terrific. Essentially acting as headphones, the hearing devices make it easy to lean into the sounds you love — wirelessly. Plus, compatible apps make it a cinch to control your hearing technology right from your smartphone.
But let’s talk about the next level of connectivity. Imagine, for example, being able to directly surf the web, control access to your home, get instant ambient-temperature information, or turn off an appliance with your hearing device. Though these possibilities may not happen in the immediate future, the world of hearing-technology connectivity is always expanding to exciting new heights.
6. Artificial Intelligence
Netflix suggests movies you might love. Your household thermostat chooses a comfy temperature, without even needing to be programmed. Your smartphone accurately finishes your sentences before you’ve typed the words. Machine learning, a category of artificial intelligence (AI), is becoming the norm of everyday life, and we’re here for the ways it can support your health.
AI will increasingly play a role in hearing aid functionality, contributing to greater convenience and empowerment for users. One line of hearing aids already can track brain and body health, detect falls, and translate other languages in real time to help bust communication barriers. Look for even more AI capabilities as technology continues to evolve.
Hearing technology is always progressing to help you stay healthy, engaged, and connected with the people and activities that matter in your life. We’d love to show you the latest innovations, so don’t wait. Contact our caring team to schedule a test-drive today.