Android will soon have hearing aid support. It has introduced the Audio Streaming for Hearing aids (AHSA) that work with Bluetooth 5 BLE.
Hearing impairment affects nearly 20% of us. Until now there have been proprietary ways to link a hearing aid to a phone to change volume or on very expensive models to hear phone calls.
“The World Health Organization states that around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss. This number is expected to increase to 900 million people by the year 2050. Google is working with GN Hearing to create a new open specification for hearing aid streaming support on future versions of Android devices,” said Seang Chau, Vice President of Engineering at Google.
Users will be able to connect and monitor their hearing aids, so they can get the full advantages of their Android devices without using an intermediate device for streaming to their hearing aids. This will allow more people to call friends, and enjoy music and brilliant sound experiences.
AHSA is an open standard based on Bluetooth 5 BLE. New hearing aids using the standard will be able to
- Listen to calls or streaming music
- Adjust volume
- Hear text to speech notifications
- Use the smartphone microphone to reinforce sound
- Compensate for noisy backgrounds (as in a restaurant)
- Locate hearing aids
- Monitor and manage battery life
- Switch from stereo (a pair) to mono (one)
- Vary frequency response like an equaliser does for speakers
- Use any of the other device capabilities
In other words, Android will soon have hearing aid support. Use hearing aids like tiny embedded Bluetooth speakers.
Of course, it is all dependent on hearing aid manufacturers adopting the standard.
The first is GN Hearing based in Denmark. It makes Jabra unified communications equipment and headphones and the ReSound range of hearing aids. In 2010 it started using 2.4GHz wireless streaming technology and in 2104 was the first to make a hearing aid for iPhone.
“Our partnership with Google will enable direct streaming through Android devices. This is another example of how GN Hearing relentlessly strives to drive innovation forward by developing new products and solutions with unique benefits for hearing aid users and audiologists around the world”, says Anders Hedegaard, CEO, GN Hearing.
Android will soon have hearing aid support, Android will soon have hearing aid support,