If you are dealing with severe or complete hearing loss, getting a cochlear implant can help restore your quality of life. But what will the future bring? Is it true that hearing implants could grant you superhuman hearing?
How Do Hearing Implants Work?
A hearing implant converts sound to a series of electric impulses. Thus, it’s a good solution for a number of problems, including nerve damage.
But there are some problems with the way hearing implants work currently:
- They are bad at filtering out unimportant noise. If you are using a cochlear implant, you may still need to rely on lip-reading to follow a conversation fully. You will also need intense focus to keep track of what is being said.
- Cochlear implants frequently can’t process complex sounds, such as music.
- The microphone and processing device are visible. These parts are attached to the outside of the ear, and held in place by magnets. People with hearing loss can face stigma in social interactions, and so they may prefer not to display their implants.
What Kind of Innovations Can We Expect?
1. Better Sound Processing
Current hearing implants use algorithms to recognize speech and filter out ambient noise. But in the future, intelligent systems could replace these algorithms. In short, your hearing implant will teach itself to filter out unwanted noises to fit your needs. The longer you wear it, the more accurate it will become.
2. Wireless Signals and Smaller Devices
Bluetooth is a good solution to the problem of connecting the microphone and sound processing device with the implant in your ear. However, better wireless signals would provide better synchronization. They’d also require less battery power. Smaller batteries mean that invisible devices could be around the corner.
3. Direct Connectivity
Researchers are looking for ways to connect cochlear implants with telephones, computers and music players. This will provide new ways of experiencing the world.
Right now, your hearing implant can pick up on soft sounds, but it can’t ignore interference. In the future, your hearing implants could grant you superhuman hearing, since they will become easier to customize and direct. Additionally, they will be able to connect you to any technological devices.