Audiology in the future - looking towards 2030

  • Shane Seiger-Eatwell

What does the future hold for audiology? Will clinical staff be needed for testing or will all testing be done online? Alejandro Lopez Valdes, Research Engineer at the Eriksholm Research Centre, gives his view on the future of audiology.

- In 2030, you can easily imagine an inversion of the current flow of the audiology chain. No longer will the user seek audiology. In 2030, audiology will seek the user, Alejandro Lopez Valdes speculates.

Alejandro Lopez Valdes is committed to increase the benefits of future hearing care through his work. He is originally from Mexico, but has lived in several countries in connection with his studies and working career. Now he works at the Eriksholm Research Centre as a Research Engineer of Cognitive Hearing Science.

According to Alejandro Lopez Valdes, hearing aid technology will benefit from data, allowing for a closer link between diagnostics and hearing aid fitting.

- Diagnostics and hearing aid fitting will become more integrated, as cloud services will enable diagnostic equipment to read collected data. This will be used for powerful hearing aid fitting. We’ll also see that the handling and storage of data will play a role in the way our medical systems are set up. With cloud storage, people can travel without leaving their data behind, which is very convenient for diagnostics and data extraction, Alejandro Lopez Valdes comments.

Human-driven hearing care will survive

Even though future hearing care will likely be data-driven, Alejandro Lopez Valdes still thinks that there will be a need for personal counseling and a holistic view at diagnostics.

- When it comes to hearing, we are still talking about life-changing situations for hearing aid users. While data-driven solutions can provide deeper insights into what the user’s needs are, there remains a requirement for a human-driven component to link and interpret these insights, Alejandro Lopez Valdes explains.

Interacoustics already offers remote audiology solutions, where personal counseling is set to be an activity that can be undertaken from afar.

- We’ll probably see a lot more remote hearing care. People may be 100 kilometers away from a clinic but still have access to hearing care through telehealth and remote solutions, allowing for long-distance diagnosis and treatment, he says.

Word of warning

The appraisal of data, however, does not come without a word of warning:

- I think that in 2030, the algorithms will be sufficiently intelligent and we will have sufficient data to automatically define the best functioning parameters for audiological enhancement in any given situation. But does that mean that it should apply changes or modify settings without recognition of the user? The will of the user should always be respected. Technology should not disempower individuals in this regard, Alejandro Lopez Valdes concludes.

Missed the 'Driving audiology' piece with James Harte?


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