A Look At Hearing Aids That Monitor Vital Signs

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December 26, 2017
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January 24, 2018

A Look At Hearing Aids That Monitor Vital Signs

Flat line alert on a heart monitor.

Wearable technology is quite the rage these days. The goal of this technology is to incorporate portable electronics and computers into an individual’s daily life. These wearable gadgets track information on health and fitness as well as transportation, finances, music, and gaming. Creating convenient and portable access to electronics and computers certainly makes life much more manageable for the hearing impaired. Types of wearable technology include:

  • Smartwatches
  • Fitness trackers
  • Sports watches
  • Head-mounted displays
  • Smart clothing
  • Smart jewelry
  • Implantables

Wearable Technology

Wearables use a web connection, often using Bluetooth or connecting wirelessly to your smartphone. These intelligent electronic devices are worn on the body and can perform a wide variety of functions including navigation, activity tracking, and healthcare monitoring. Monitoring a user’s health is natural given the proximity to the body. Data collected on a person’s health include:

  • Heart rate
  • Calories burned
  • Steps walked
  • Blood pressure
  • Time spent exercising

The measurements of blood alcohol content, athletic performance, and how sick a user is are applications currently being investigated.

The Heart and Hearing Connection

Although the reason is unclear, many experts believe that there is a connection between hearing and heart health. Low-frequency hearing loss often indicates an underlying condition in the cardiovascular system. Cardiovascular disease constricts blood vessels causing reduced blood flow to all areas of the body including the inner ear. Less blood flow to this sensitive area can cause moderate to severe hearing problems. Considering that heart disease kills approximately 610,000 people in the United States each year, anyone who experiences hearing problems should get a hearing test. One solution includes a device considered by many to be the original wearable.

The Original Wearable

Hearing aids are the original wearables. These wearable devices share many features with today’s wearable gadgets. One primary focus for hearing aid companies today is the field of biometrics. Technology enhancements under development include:

  • Heart rate
  • Body temperature
  • Blood pressure
  • Pulse oximetry
  • ECG
  • Electroencephalogram signals
  • Pedometry

A Healthy Future

The future of hearing aid technology is near, and with it are numerous enhancements for improved health. Have a look at these hearing aid features:

  • Vital sign monitoring for measuring heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, and ECG.
  • Activity tracking ranging from the pedometer to improved caloric output based on movement.
  • Improved self-confidence thanks to technology that makes future hearing aids as unobtrusive as possible.
  • Translation for foreign languages into your native language.

Although this technology may be a little bit away, it is clear that hearing aids have untapped potential to play a significant role in the future of vital sign monitoring.

Wearable technology has come a long way from a humble beginning which includes hearing aids. This technology worn on your wrist, arm, body, and ears provides a wealth of useful information. The relationship between the heart and the ears is reason enough to seek cardiovascular monitoring hearing aids as a significant area of wearable technology research. The future is bright for heart and hearing health.

 

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