Mobile phones have been a huge boon to accessibility for people with a wide range of sensory difficulties, but designing accessibility into devices is still often a secondary consideration for many manufacturers. Google is aiming to address that with Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids, or Asha.
"According to the World Health Organisation, around 466m people worldwide have disabling hearing loss," said Seang Chau, vice president of engineering at Google. "This number is expected to increase to 900m people by the year 2050. Google is working with GN Hearing to create a new open specification for hearing aid streaming support on future versions of Android devices."
GN Hearing will become the first hearing aid manufacturer to enable a full spectrum of direct audio streaming from Android devices to its hearing aids, with users able to directly stream to its recently-launched ReSound LiNX Quattro and Beltone Amaze devices in a future Android release. However, the open source specification will allow all hearing aid manufacturers to utilise the capability across Bluetooth Low Energy connections.
"We are honoured to partner with Google for this important development, which will enable direct streaming for even more hearing aid users through their Android devices," said Anders Hedegaard, CEO of GN Hearing. "This is another example of how GN Hearing relentlessly strives to drive innovation forward by developing new products and solutions with unique benefits for hearing aid users and audiologists around the world."