On September 3, Google announced the latest version of its mobile operating system, Android 10. As usual, the new release includes a number of improvements, one of which is Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Connection-Oriented Channels.
A neat feature hides behind the mouthful name, enabling support for direct streaming to hearing aids. Said technology was developed by Google in collaboration with GN Hearing and Cochlear to ultimately create a more inclusive platform.
At the moment, this Android 10 feature is only available on Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL — allowing users of the ReSounds LiNX Quattro and Beltone Amaze hearing aids (as well as the Cochlear Nucleus 7 Sound Processor) to connect to their Android device without draining their phone or hearing aid batteries fast. The newly developed protocol can stream music, take calls, listen to a movie, and much more.
“The streaming capability with the latest hearing devices from Cochlear or GN Hearing expands accessibility to more consumer technology. The benefit to our users is that they will no longer have to use an intermediate device to stream audio from a compatible Android device to their cochlear implant sound processor or hearing aid,” Per Jan Janssen, CTO of Cochlear, said in a statement.
A similar sentiment is shared by Jakob Gudbrand – CEO and President of GN Hearing. “We’ve partnered up with some of the leading technology companies in the world to deliver innovation with the user at heart. Now people with hearing loss can enjoy effortless streaming all day long and easily connect with people,” he said.
Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Connection-Oriented Channels is an open-source project, so it will likely be heading to additional phones in the coming month. Chances are it will come included with the Android 10 update.