There are 466 million people globally who suffer from disabilities with hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization. The number is expected to rise to 900 million by 2050. That being said, the hearing aids that are available today share same functionality as Bluetooth headphones. Most of them are compatible with iPhones. However, due to the fragmentation that Android OS has, manufacturers have been finding it difficult to support Android devices.
Google realizes this, and it is now working on bringing native support for hearing aids for streaming on Android in the future OS update, 9To5Mac reports The search giant has announced a partnership with GN Hearing, a hearing aids manufacturer, to add direct audio streaming support from Android to assistive devices. Besides amplifying sounds, the hearing aids will also be able to act as Bluetooth headphones to listen to music or make and receive calls.
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To accomplish this, the companies have worked on a new specification, Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA), that will allow other hearing aid makers to add compatibility with Android devices. It has been designed to have minimal impact on battery life, while also allowing users to monitor power status, and modify other settings, right from their Android device.
The new specification details network topology, system requirements and architecture, pairing and connectivity. It also details hearing aids using low energy connection-oriented channels. This also means any hearing aid manufacturer can easily build native hearing aid devices with support for Android. The ReSound LiNX Quattro and Beltone Amaze devices from GN Hearing will be the first to support it.