Over the last couple of years, there has been an explosion of wearable technology reaching the mainstream. The terms ‘wearable technology’ or ‘wearables’, refers to electronic technology that are incorporated into items of clothing or accessories worn on the body.
These sophisticated devices are capable of performing a wide range of functions, from tasks achieved by a mobile phone: SMS messaging, answering phone calls, to more complex tasks: monitoring heart rate, counting calories, tracking fitness, achieved through smart sensors, connectivity to the internet, and wireless technologies.
Popular wearables currently are available are, smart watches: Apple Watch, fitness trackers: Fitbit and head mounted displays: Google Glass.
In more recent times, there has been a new surge in wearable technology worn on the ear, referred to as hearables.
What is a hearable?
A hearable is electronic technology that is incorporated into a device or accessory worn in or on the ear.
What can they do?
This technology is still relatively new on the Wearables market where many companies are investing into the research and development of such technology. Hearables currently available on the market can be classified in to three categories:
- Hearing Aids- Through the use of a microphone, speaker and amplifier, this amplifies sounds to help people with hearing impairment hear. Example, Phonak Audeo V.
- Personal Sound Amplifiers- Increases environmental sounds (sounds that aren’t speech) for non-hearing impaired people. Example, Soundhawk PSAP
- Headphones/ear buds- stream music and other information from a device (e.g. Iphone) wirelessly, provide biometric data: tracks pace, steps, cadence, and distance, monitor heart rate, oxygen, saturation and energy spent. Example, Bragi DASH
Given the development of hearables is still in its early stages, there is still a great deal of potential to be realised.
What does this mean for Hearing Aids?
We are already seeing the effects of Wearables on hearing aids. Wearables show that users want their hearing devices to have more connectivity to their everyday lives and the designs of hearing aids are already being adapted to meet this need. Almost all hearing aids now fully integrate with phones and other blue tooth devices.
The most important distinction between hearing aids and Wearables is that hearing aids are custom fit to your ears, hearing level and hearing needs. Hearing aids are designed to provide the best hearing results for you and each hearing aid is adjusted to suit your unique hearing needs. In stark contrast to this Wearable technology use a ‘one size fits all’ approach’. While they may increase the amplification of sounds, Wearable technologies are not currently tailored to address your unique hearing needs.
At Lions Hearing Clinics our clinicians are experts in hearing solutions and are able to assist you to find the best solution for your hearing needs. As our clinicians are not affiliated with any hearing aid or Wearable technology providers, we are committed to providing you independent expert advice on which product best suits your need. Our clinicians are dedicated to working with you, listening to you and answering all your questions. To book an appointment at Lions Hearing Clinics, contact us or call us on 1800 054 667 today.