Predictions for 2031: Prof. Helen Cullington: The instant and total hearing fix


Future of Audiology: 2031

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Imagine a world in which we no longer stress any distinction between normal-hearing persons and those with hearing loss; could this happen by 2031?

Our next prophet on the hearing health panorama ten years from now is a leading researcher and authority on the cochlear implant. Professor Cullington envisages a fluid vision taking hold of approaches to hearing and the brain, with correction taking place as soon as our hearing shows minimum signs of failing. An enticing idea, for sure!

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Helen Cullington, Chair of British Cochlear Implant Group, Professorial Fellow, University of Southampton, UK

I think that hearables and augmented reality will become routine (“the ear is the new wrist”), and there will be an indistinguishable continuum of hearing ability, i.e. no distinction between those with hearing loss and those with normal hearing. Hearables will seamlessly adapt to amplify some frequencies if needed, and change intuitively over time, as hearing changes over the lifespan. This will mean that the moment that someone’s hearing is below normal, some restoration of information will be provided.

Why would we even let the brain spend a day without full access to all frequencies? If something in my house doesn’t work properly, I get it fixed straight away – to prevent it getting worse. Why treat the brain differently? This will then mean that there will be no adaptation to hearing aids needed ... it will all happen gradually and adaptively.

Source: Audiology Worldnews EUHA special 2021