For the most part, Bluetooth hearing aids have been easily compatible with iPhones, but Android fragmentation has made it difficult for hearing aid manufacturers to provide support to Android devices. Now Google is working to bring native hearing aid support for streaming on Android.
Google announced today that it’s working with Danish hearing aid manufacturer GN Hearing to create a new hearing aid spec for Android smartphones called ASHA, or Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids. It’s designed to be battery-efficient, while providing high quality audio with low latency. Hearing aids utilizing this spec will be able to connect to and stream from Android devices without having to use another intermediate device. ASHA will enable Bluetooth hearing aids to be utilized the same way as headphones, used to call friends or listen to music.
Google has published the new protocol specifications online for any hearing aid manufacturer to build native hearing aid support for Android. GN Hearing has announced that the ReSound LiNX Quattro and Beltone Amaze will be the first hearing aids to receive direct streaming support in a future update.