The hearing assistive technology industry has seen major advancements in recent years, both in the variety and quality of options. Entire venues are built with technology that improves the listening and communication experience for everyone, new hearing aids on the market can be charged by solar power or translate languages in real-time, and apps have the ability to transform your powerful smartphone into portable hearing assistive device.
Individuals who are hard of hearing need solutions and the power to overcome the following challenges:
- Clashing conversations
- Individuals who are hard of hearing
Having a clear, focused, and personal listening experience, even in the noisiest and difficult environments, is the goal of hearing assistive technology. Our team here at Listen Technologies has gathered information on advancements in hearing assistive technology to keep you informed and up to date!
Venue-Wide Hearing Assistive Technology
Theatres, places of worship, convention halls, and many other types of venues often provide RF (Radio), IR (Infrared), and Induction (Loop) technologies to provide assistive listening for the hard of hearing.
- RF (Radio Technology) is the same technology as a radio, using a small transmitter with an antenna to deliver audio to earphones.
- IR (Infrared) Technology uses the same technology as a remote control to flood an area with infrared light via IR radiators and transmit audio to earphones.
- Induction (Loop) Technology uses a magnetic field to transmit audio wirelessly using either a “T-Coil equipped” hearing aid with a built-in “T” switch, or with a hearing loop receiver and headphones.
Improved (and More Affordable) In-Ear Hearing Aids
The technology surrounding hearing aids is always evolving and improving, but a few new technologies that are particularly exciting include:
- A new cognitive hearing aid is being designed to figure out which sound a listener is trying to focus on, and magnify just that audio while lowering the volume on other sounds.
- A solar-powered hearing aid, with batteries designed to last 2-3 years, is geared toward those who live in lower-income countries as it is considerably less expensive than regular hearing aids.
- Translating hearing aids use machine translation technology to translate other languages into English.
A Multitude of Mobile Device Applications
The invention of the smartphone has had huge ramifications for just about every individual on the planet…including deaf or hard of hearing individuals. With an abundance of new apps available, you are walking around with one of the most powerful multi-use tools out there.
Here are some ways hearing assistive technology is being used with mobile devices:
- Spoken language can be captured on a smartphone, converted into text, and sent via Bluetooth to a device or wearable.
- Engage audiences with Wi-Fi streaming audio and customized content delivered directly to their smartphones and Wi-Fi-enabled devices through a mobile app.
- Hearing aids can connect to an iOS device, allowing Siri to read texts and emails directly through the hearing aid and allows for easy-to-hear streaming of music and videos.
- On-demand interpreting apps call ASL interpreters who can help with language services over video.
Hearing Assistive Technology of the Future
Before long, we may start to see these futuristic hearing assistive technologies take off:
- A 3D-printed robotic hand that is capable of translating spoken and written words into sign language.
- A video camera with an accompanying microphone that translates spoken or signed words into multiple other languages.
- Smart gloves that automatically translate ASL into digital text on a computer or smartphone.
With all of these impressive advances being made in hearing assistive technologies, the ability to easily accommodate individuals with differing needs has arrived and will continue to more easily incorporate into daily life. Learn more about Listen Technologies and the hearing assistive solutions they offer.