Aug 2018 Fortune
Google is trying to make hearing aids work better with Android phones. The tech giant announced that it’s working with GN Hearing, so that people can stream audio from future Android phones to their hearing aids so that they can hear better. The tweak, which is similar to Apple’s Made for iPhone hearing aid program, will also allow people with hearing difficulties to pair and monitor their hearing aid with their Android device.
According to the World Health Organization, 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss. Given that 85% of the world’s population who have startphones use Android devices, that means that the hearing aid support could be huge.
Google is hoping to create a high quality, low-latency experience that has only a small impact on the functionality of the phone, and both the phone and hearing aid’s battery life. Along with the announcement, Google published a new hearing aid spec for Android smartphones that details “pairing and connectivity, network topology, system architecture, and system requirements for implementing hearing aids using low energy connection-oriented channels.” The idea is for hearing device manufacturers to use those specs to build native Android compatibility into their devices.