Imagine that you are at a get-together, making conversation, cracking jokes and being the life of the party. Suddenly you can’t hear very well and your neighbour’s speech is sounding all garbled. Your hearing aids have chosen the most inopportune moment to run out of batteries! Replacing the button cell batteries in your hearing aids is a task that you need to perform often; it’s not only time-consuming but also a financial burden to some extent.
Wearable medical devices such as hearing aids have made many technological advances in the past few years and have become more and more energy-efficient. Now imagine if the batteries in your hearing aids can be recharged automatically, making your hearing aids self-powered. Researchers at the École de Technologie Supérieure at the University of Montreal, Canada have been experimenting with several sources of energy to power up portable devices that consume low power. These energy harvesting technologies are focussing on various energy sources, such as solar power, thermal energy, even the energy generated by the human body.
Chew on this
After testing and discarding several sources of energy, researchers decided to look away from external sources and decided to concentrate on the wearer herself – or rather a source of energy as close to the ear canal as possible. Did you know that every time you open your mouth (and pull your lower jaw down), the soft tissue of your ear canal deforms and returns back to shape when you close your mouth? This motion of the jaw, and therefore of the ear canal, releases a small amount of energy – enough to power a 1mW hearing aid for more than 2 hours! This technology is especially useful for in the ear (ITE) hearing aids that many users prefer today. ITE hearing aids are custom-made and fit inside your ear quite snugly. These are easy to use and control, and are not immediately visible. Researchers are now working to embed these hearing aids with an energy-harvesting unit. Since you will not be replacing batteries every few days, these hearing aids are environment friendly as well. Soon you will not have to worry about remembering to replace the batteries in your hearing aids – just eat a solid meal or chew some gum!
Digital Hearing Aids
While these jaw-powered hearing aids are still in the development stage, there are many state-of-the-art digital hearing aids available in the market today. At Leightons Hearing Care, we have all the top brands such as Oticon, Phonak, ReSound, Widex and Siemens. These hearing aids use advanced microprocessors that give you crystal clear sounds and maximum speech understanding. Drop in at your nearest Leightons branch and our trained audiologists will carry out a comprehensive hearing test and assessment for you. Based on the results of the test, we will help you pick the hearing aids that best suit your requirements and lifestyle. You can avail our free hearing aid demonstration before making your purchase. At Leightons we also provide a free 3-year supply of hearing aid batteries. So book an appointment or call us on 0800 40 20 20 today!