At first glance, the latest virtual assistants might not seem to have much to offer those with hearing loss. These assistants seem to be just one more voice in the room that is difficult to hear. If you’re familiar with the many versions of these AI devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft Cortana, or Google Assistant, you might recognize the familiar voice that can help with searching and tasks when you aren’t able to type. This helpful technology might seem unsuited to those with hearing loss, but these new features can be integrated with hearing assistance in remarkable ways. Along with the other ways that hearing aid manufacturers are expanding the function of their devices, streaming and Bluetooth connectivity make it possible to do more than you might have imagined.
In addition, many designers of virtual assistants have realized the need to accommodate those with hearing loss, impairment, and deafness. Technologies like “Tap to Alexa” make it possible to interface with digital assistants on screens rather than by listening to a voice. Let’s take a look at the two ways that virtual assistants can assist those with hearing loss, imagining the many new ways that technology can enhance life in the future.
Virtual Assistants and Connectivity
With the use of Bluetooth connectivity, more is possible in your hearing aids than you might have imagined. Anyone who has connected hearing aids to a smartphone, computer, or other devices will know that this integration makes it possible to not only send audio to your devices but also to change the settings on your hearing aids without removing them. In the first place, streaming audio to hearing aids is a useful safety measure to make it possible to not only listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and videos but also to integrate that audio with the sound of the environment around you. Imagine, for instance, if a car approaches while you’re taking a walk and listening to a podcast.
These hearing aids make it possible to remain aware of the world around you. Just like other Bluetooth devices, virtual assistants can send audio to your devices when you ask them for assistance. For instance, if you are looking for help searching for something, you can engage the virtual assistance with your voice. Rather than sending that music to the air, your can program your device to send the answers directly to your hearing devices. As you might already know, you can also adjust your settings through Bluetooth connectivity, so that combination does a lot to make your hearing aids a way to better navigate the world.
Virtual Assistants and Screens
The most common form of virtual assistant technology uses your voice to engage the system, yet that’s not the only way to use them. By keeping a tablet or laptop in a handy location, you can use the many functions provided by Alexa—including a quick question, stop, weather, timer, news, and alarm—without needing to hear the voice that responds. You might be curious how this differs from other forms of search that use a computer or tablet. Rather than needing to type into the system, you can use this technology to speak your questions or needs.
Through advanced voice recognition, the virtual assistant can send a response back to you on the screen of the device. In this way, virtual assistants are not only for those who can easily hear a voice in the room. Sending information directly to your hearing devices through Bluetooth connectivity is one approach, and sending information to a screen such as through Tap to Alexa is another approach. If you are curious about integrating a virtual assistant into your technological landscape, there are many resources available through any one of the providers.
When it comes to Bluetooth connectivity, we can help you get started toward integrating your devices, and the manufacturer of your devices will be able to provide customer support, as well. With these many options available to you, why not investigate the ways that a virtual assistant might be able to help you move through the world more easily and get the information you need when you need it?