Windows 11 will soon let some users with hearing aids take calls, listen to music, and stream audio from their PCs, Microsoft announced on Wednesday.
The recently rolled out Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25977 now supports hearing aids equipped with Bluetooth LE Audio technology, Microsoft revealed. Consequently, people can directly pair hearing aids with Windows 11 PCs.
The feature is currently only available on select Windows devices with Bluetooth LE Audio support, though Microsoft says more PCs will offer it in the future. The tech giant also says it will add more capabilities for hearing aids over time, such as the ability to control audio presets within Windows.
Microsoft announced it was adding support for Bluetooth LE in Windows 11 during its Build conference in May. The audio specification uses the LC3 audio codec, which makes it possible to deliver high-quality audio while conserving battery power. It also allows for features like the ability to transmit audio to multiple devices simultaneously.
In addition to new accessibility features, Build 25977 also introduced some privacy updates. The company announced that users will now receive notifications when an app attempts to access their location or Wi-Fi information.
Hearing tech has increasingly attracted the attention of major companies in recent years. Sony launched self-fitting hearing aids with WS Audiology, and there are reports Apple could be exploring positioning the AirPods as hearing aids. It’s likely even more big players will enter the market after retailers started selling hearing aids over the counter last year.