Hearing loss is a very common form of sensory loss. With many tech inventions ranging from hearing aids to assistive listening devices, there are multiple options to choose from when struggling with auditory problems.
People with impaired hearing have benefitted considerably from progress in audiology, a science that concentrates on auditory and corresponding problems.
With as many as 5% of the world’s population (and one-third of people over the age of 65) suffering from this form of sensory loss, it is no wonder scientists are looking for solutions. Here are some of the groundbreaking innovations for the hearing impaired.
This nifty device can convert any speech into text which will be seen on the lenses of the glasses. With augmented reality, your cellphone will listen to conversations while simultaneously sending subtitles to your glasses.
This text will be projected into the user’s field of vision in a non-intrusive way. It might take two years for this fantastic invention to reach the general population, but the wait will be worth it.
Not only will this benefit the deaf community. In addition to subtitling, real-time language translation apps are available to make overseas travel easier. It will have the added advantage of translating languages to something you are more familiar with.
Drug Therapy That Regrows Cells
This therapy will only work on those who have damaged hair cells in their ears resulting in hearing loss. We are born with roughly 15 000 of these sound-transporting hairs in each ear, and once damaged; unfortunately, they are gone for good.
Regrowing these hairs will return this sense to those who suffer from conditions that damage the hair cells; this might take a while to reach the general population. For some of the prospective methods, human trials have only just begun, but the concept is fascinating.
Much like lizards can regrow their tails; scientists are working on a chemical drug that will be delivered right into your inner ear; this will stimulate the regrowth of hair cells that transmit frequencies to your brain to be converted into sound.
A cochlear implant is a sound processor worn behind the ear. In conjunction with this processor, a receiver and stimulator are implanted under the skin and into the skull bone. This system works together to stimulate the auditory nerve.
Most improvements in this implant are made to the external processor. Individuals who have previously had the implant procedure will be able to access the new upgrades without having to endure a second surgery.
Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants directly deliver speech and sound to the brain.
A cochlear implant tries to replace the inner ear of a deaf individual. These devices do not restore normal hearing. Previously hearing-able individuals describe the sounds as robotic or tinny; the brain will gradually adjust to this.
Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive listening devices or ALDs are designed to improve the hearing ability of individuals in various situations. How they work is simple to understand.
Hand-held amplifiers bring the sound you want to hear closer to you. Some of these devices may filter out background noises. These gadgets can be amplified telephones, hearing-aid compatible phones, and even television-compatible devices.
You might use ALDs at large gatherings where one person will speak into the microphone, and the sound will be effectively transmitted directly to your listening device. It’s common to filter out competing noise to make it easier for you to focus on the sounds you want to hear.
Not all notifications are auditory-based; vibrations and different color lights can indicate many things. Most of these devices function by receiving signals and translating them into visual alerts.
Parents who are hearing impaired have access to baby monitors that will alert them using adjustable vibrations or flashing lights. And some of these devices work using existing hardware, so no electrical wiring is necessary.
Doorbell signalers work with or without an existing doorbell. These devices will alert you when someone is at the door.
Accessing information is made easier by using hardware and software solutions known as assistive technology.
Technology has genuinely come a long way in helping the deaf community communicate through non-face-to-face interactions like texting, video phones, and smartphones. More so, with the advancements in science, the hearing impaired can converse with people in person.
The strides taken in recent years will continue to grow for the betterment of this community.