Accessibility is a critical consideration for manufacturers when they’re building devices. Around 466 million people have disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization, and that number is projected to grow to 900 million by 2050. Finding ways to help people who contend with hearing loss to get the most out of their devices is an important challenge for tech companies now and in the decades ahead.
With that in mind, Google has released an open specification to stream audio directly from Android phones to hearing aids. The company hopes to help manufacturers add native support for the phones using its Bluetooth low energy spec, which is called Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (Asha).
Google worked with GN Hearing to develop Asha, which is said to offer low-latency, high-quality audio with minimal impact on battery life. GN is the first manufacturer to use the spec, and it will be available to users of the ReSound LiNX Quattro and Beltone Amaze hearing aids following a future Android update. Users will be able to monitor their hearing aids using their phones, and call friends as well as listen to music or other audio.