The invention of the transistor was a key factor in propelling hearing aids into the hands of consumers. The transistor allowed hearing aids to become smaller, leading to the advent of the behind-the-ear hearing aid. Another major shift occurred in the 1990s with the development of digital hearing aids. Digital circuitry revolutionized hearing aids, making them smaller, more powerful and more customizable than ever. In today’s technological climate, change occurs so quickly it can be easy to miss. In fact, many shifts are occurring in the hearing aid market that may revolutionize the entire industry.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of wearables, a term used to describe wearable technology. In a short amount of time, fitness trackers, smartwatches and virtual reality glasses have infiltrated the consumer market. A similar trend is on the horizon for hearables, or smart earbuds. Industry experts have taken advantage of our existing dependency on earbuds and hearing aids to create advanced technologies that take the features we love in fitness trackers and combine them with traditional listening devices.
Many efforts have been made to improve communication through technology. One notable project is the Pilot, a hearing device that seeks to use translation software to facilitate conversations between individuals who are speaking different languages. Similarly, a group of researchers is attempting to create the “the world’s first two-way communication software for the deaf.” This device would translate sign language into speech and speech into text, enabling the deaf or hard of hearing able to communicate more easily.
The majority of these new inventions are still in the preliminary phase; however, if they prove successful they may alter the entire hearing aid industry. Some audiologists are hopeful that a shift toward hearable technology will help reduce the stigma of wearing a hearing device. These technologies may also make hearing aids an indispensable part of our daily lives.
To learn more about these technological developments, speak with an audiologist or hearing aid doctor. If you’d like to find the best audiologists in Houston, we can help. Call our office at (281) 578-7500 today!