Hearing aids and Bluetooth headsets have a lot in common, and other mobile operating systems such as iOS already support them. We discovered that hearing aid support was on the way alongside the G.722 codec towards the end of last year. It would allow users to stream audio to their Bluetooth enabled hearing aids. It doesn’t appear that that functionality is enabled in Android Pie quite yet, but Google has announced a partnership with GN Hearing to bring hearing aid support to future versions of Android.
Google has published the Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on Bluetooth Low Energy Connection-Oriented Channels hearing aid specification as well. It ensures that users will have a low-latency, high-quality experience accompanied by a minimal impact on battery life. Google’s plan for the future is to continuously update ASHA and implement it into a future version of Android. It’s currently not available now, but it probably won’t be too far off given the work the company has already been putting into the field. A partnership with GN Hearing is simply to make sure the needs of all users are met.
According to the World Health Organisation, around 466 million people have a disabling hearing loss. That number is expected to rise to 900 million by 2050. For many of those 466 million, hearing aids are an essential part of life. Being able to pair one with your phone to make phone calls, listen to the world around you without having to do anything will certainly be a useful feature for many. iOS devices already support “Made for iPhone” hearing aids natively, so it’s about time that Android began to support them as well. It’s possible that maybe with the release of the Google Pixel 3 we could see support finalized and introduced, though there are no guarantees.
Source: Android Developers blog
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