AI can help wrangle one of the most challenging situations if you struggle to hear: Engaging in a conversation when you’re in a loud, crowded space.

The AI Takeover: How Artificial Intelligence is Revolutionizing Hearing Care

by | Jul 10, 2023 | Industry News, Technology

Most people have a distorted view of artificial intelligence, or AI, applying fantastic notions of all-powerful robots taking over the world, which come from Hollywood sci-fi thrillers. Despite the hype, AI is still nothing more than advanced processing that applies learning, reasoning, correction, and basic creativity.

However, AI is already helping to revolutionize how you hear. Madeleine Burry of Healthy Hearing says:

“AI can help wrangle one of the most challenging situations if you struggle to hear: Engaging in a conversation when you’re in a loud, crowded space (think: a restaurant or cafe). Because as you know if you wear a hearing aid, louder isn’t the solution.”

As research into artificial intelligence continues, increased applications for its use to improve hearing aids are being discovered and integrated into hearing aid designs. In this post, we’ll look at how artificial intelligence is revolutionizing hearing care and what future advancements could be on the horizon.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

It is essential to have a better understanding of what is meant by the term artificial intelligence before discussing what it does. In general, AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes carried out by machines, especially computer systems.

Specific applications of AI involve natural language processing, speech recognition, machine learning, and machine vision.

How does AI Work?

What is referred to as AI is simply a component of the technology, such as machine learning. AI systems ingest large amounts of training data, analyze the data for correlations and patterns, and use these patterns to make predictions about future states.

According to TechTarget, AI programming focuses on cognitive skills that include the following:

  • Learning, which focuses on acquiring data and creating rules, or algorithms, designed to turn the acquired
  • data into actionable information
  • Reasoning, which involves choosing the right algorithm to reach a desired outcome
  • Self-correction, which is the process of continually fine-tuning algorithms and ensuring that they supply the
  • most accurate results possible
  • Creativity, which involves neural networks, rules-based systems, statistical methods, and other AI techniques
  • to generate new images, text, music, ideas, and, in the case of hearing aids, new sounds or improved sound clarity

AI and Hearing Care Collide: The History of Artificial Intelligence in Hearing Care

Artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) has been a major industry focus since the early 2010s, with big tech companies spending billions of dollars for research and development and paying employees fresh out of PhD programs over $300,000 per year.

The removal of some technological constraints, combined with the hearing aid industry’s need to address new and disruptive service delivery models, has made it possible to bring AI into the hearing care market.

ML and AI had no real application for use in hearing aids before the development of digital sound processing around the turn of the century, but their true value remained untapped until the widespread adoption of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled hearing aids, developed by Starkey in 2005.

The development of deep neural networks (DNNs) applied to transforming incoming sounds dramatically improved the signal processing in hearing devices. An article published in Nature Machine Intelligence in 2021 explains that “this approach is particularly well suited to address the most common problem reported by device users: difficulty understanding speech in a setting with multiple talkers or substantial background noise (the so-called cocktail party problem).”

Ongoing work applying DNNs to improve the understanding of speech in noise for device users has progressed rapidly from separating the voice of a known talker from steady-state noise to separating multiple unknown talkers in reverberant environments, according to the same source.

But for the full potential of AI in hearing to be realized, new machine hearing systems that match both the function and key elements of the structure of the auditory system are needed.

AI Technology

Contemporary Uses of AI in the Hearing Care Industry

The primary function of AI in its application to hearing aids involves the way in which AI algorithms “learn” the user’s hearing preferences and, via a set of observations and questions, decide how the user wishes to hear.

From the data gathered, the AI uses complex processing to achieve a high-definition, natural sound that picks up all the sound subtleties, reducing the need for manual adjustments by the wearer.

Machine learning is used in various ways, and one of them is for brain-controlled hearing aids. These special aids use the power of technology to track the brainwaves of the person wearing them. By doing this, they can make the sound of the person they are listening to louder compared to other sounds around them. This helps the wearer distinguish the person they want to hear in a noisy environment. This technology is called auditory attention decoding (AAD), and it automatically separates the sounds of different speakers from a mixture of sounds.

According to a paper published in the Journal of Hearing Sciences, the application of these technologies has paved the way for many innovations in the hearing care industry. Here is a summary of some of the contemporary applications by major manufacturers in the hearing device industry cited by the paper.


Signia’s application of AI to “Own Voice Processing” (OVP) features a more natural sounding wearer’s voice; it “learns” to recognize the voice and processes it separately while external sounds are left undisturbed. This is a solution for those bothered by the sound of their own voice, which has been a drawback to using hearing aids in the past.


AI technology applied to Starkey Livio hearing aids expands their utility to other domains such as tracking daily footsteps, activity level, social listening, and active engagement while interacting to lessen cognitive decline, as well as many other wellness benefits. In addition, Livio hearing aids supply language translation through their speech detection programming to produce amplified, real-time translation.


Machine learning or integral algorithms predict outcomes with learning experiences resulting from an individual input, which is included in the Widex AI based upon the “SoundSense Learn” feature that is personalized to fine-tune hearing aid settings.

Widex has also developed “SoundSense Adapt,” capable of learning the user’s preferences in a suitable listening environment. The AI gets smarter by learning from all users by capturing unspecified data preferences and sending them to the Widex Cloud.


Syncro hearing aids from Oticon have a special feature called voice priority processing (VPP), which uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology. This AI technology allows the hearing aids to process and separate different sounds effectively. It uses multiple techniques like multi-band adaptive directionality, TriState Noise Management, and voice-aligned compression to provide the best possible solution for improving speech clarity and reducing background noise. In simpler terms, the Syncro hearing aids use smart technology to help you hear speech more clearly and reduce distracting noises around you.

Cochlear Implants

Machine learning has been applied to cochlear implants to make it easier for people to understand speech when there’s background noise. It has also helped researchers create models to better understand how our ears process sound, handle different types of noises and music, and measure the response of the auditory system automatically. Machine learning algorithms have been used to filter out unwanted sounds or disturbances in the signals, improve the performance of the implants after surgery, predict the best placement of electrodes, and even assist in robotic surgeries related to cochlear implants.


Elon Musk’s Neuralink has developed an advanced technology called “Neural Lace” that can connect the brain with computer devices. This brain-computer interface enables people to control devices using their thoughts, specifically for activities that involve movement. This technology has the potential to enhance our hearing abilities, similar to how an auditory cortical implant works. In simpler terms, Neuralink’s technology can help us control devices using our minds and may even lead to improved hearing abilities in the future.

Where Do We Go From Here?

It is impossible to predict exactly how AI will affect the future of hearing care. However, initial advancements using AI and ML in the design and manufacture of hearing aids are already having a significant impact on the effectiveness of hearing aids.

What we already know is that hearing aids can provide substantial mental and physical health benefits to their users, as well as improve communication and quality of life. Contact us to learn more about the various AI-powered hearing aids already available by submitting the adjacent form.

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Monica Walker

After many years of working in busy environments to care for thousands of people’s hearing across Atlanta, I made the decision to focus on what actually matters – building real-world relationships to offer the highest level of hearing care available to trusted friends. Through the “HEARoeClub,” I work hands-on to personally care for a small number of incredible people to help them achieve better hearing, and going above and beyond to deliver much more than just hearing care.

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