August 2018 - While iPhones have had native hearing aid compatibility support for quite some time through their collaborations with hearing aid manufacturers called, "Made for iPhone Hearing Aids and Sound Processors," Google's Android operating system has largely been left out. Until now.
It is being reported that Google is hard at work designing a Bluetooth hearing aid compatibility solution in collaboration with GN Hearing. GN Hearing is a Danish company that produces the popular ReSound Linx Quattro and the Beltone Amaze hearing aids, and will be the first two models to take advantage of the new technology. The two companies are creating a new hearing aid specification for Android called Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA). It has low latency and high-quality audio, while also being battery-efficient. Hearing aids using the ASHA spec will be able to connect to an Android device without having to use another third-party device, like a neck loop, so that users can stream music from their device or hear audio from a phone call directly into their hearing aids.
One of the issues affecting Bluetooth hearing aid compatibility with Android devices has been fragmentation. There are just too many different versions of the OS out there, and not everyone has upgraded their devices to the latest and greatest version. But as manufacturers slowly start rolling out finalized upgrades of the OS to their customers, hearing aid users who have Android smartphones should be able to take advantage of this new exciting ASHA specification. [Source: Dami Lee, The Verge]
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