Over the past few years, there has been remarkable progress made in all types of technology industries, particularly in the wearables market. Wearable smart devices that have gained popularity in recent years include smart jewellery, watches and glasses, but hearables are the latest wave of technology to gain traction.
What are hearables?
Smart headphones, or ‘hearables’, are digital audio devices worn in the inner ear to fulfil a variety of purposes, including hearing enhancement, medical monitoring, fitness tracking and communication. Advances in digital signal processing technology and the development of more efficient and smaller batteries has led to a convergence of traditional hearing aid devices and wireless earbuds.
Hearables have a number of practical and medical uses, including:
– Measuring physical symptoms including body temperature, stress hormone levels, heart rate, blood pressure, ECG, pulse oximetry and electroencephalogram signals
– Improved sound quality through filtering and ambient sound enhancement
– Tracking physical activity
– Layered listening and noise cancellation functions to enhance or filter out specific sounds
– Foreign language translation
The future of hearables
There are a number of issues that critics of smart hearing devices have raised in recent years, particularly with regards to the future of security and privacy. While constantly tracking and monitoring our surroundings and physical symptoms has a number of practical benefits, this private data is at risk of being hacked and manipulated by third parties.
However, in order for smart hearing devices to continue to develop, improve and provide value to users, they may observe people’s everyday experiences through the constant supply of information and data, meaning these smart ‘AI’ devices learn and improve. Some AI companies have addressed these privacy and security issues by encrypting the data gathered by smart devices.
As smart devices become further integrated into peoples lifestyles, it’s likely that we’ll see further developments in the hearables industry in the not too distant future.