Google Is Connecting Hearing Aids to Android Devices

It’s partnering with GN Hearing to support direct streaming.

Google is about to get in the heads of patients who use hearing aids. That’s because the tech titan is partnering with GN Hearing to develop tech that directly streams music, phone calls and other audio from a user’s Android device to their hearing aids, according to an announcement today.

The partnership stands to change the day-to-day experiences for people who use hearing aids and can afford the tech. Globally, roughly 466 million people deal with disabling hearing loss, a figure that’s slated to skyrocket to 900 million by the middle of the century, according to the World Health Organization. The prevalence of the health problem signals a rosy market outlook for Google and GN Hearing.

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The move also positions GN Hearing as the first company to “enable a full spectrum of direct audio streaming” from Androids to hearing aids, it said in a statement. It will allow patients to connect the devices via Bluetooth, without an intermediary, fueling unfettered streaming of everything from phone calls to pings.

The team expects to foster streaming to GN Hearing’s ReSound LiNX Quattro and Beltone Amaze hearing aids, which are already on the market.

But the fruits of this union won’t come right away.

“Google is working with GN Hearing to create a new open specification for hearing aid streaming support on future versions of Android devices,” noted Seang Chau, Google’s vice president of engineering.

Google has made the hearing aid specs public, and it expects to eventually allow other hearing aid companies to build tech that connects to Android devices.

Although this step is an important one in the Android universe, it might come off as old news to Apple supporters. Dozens of hearing aids are already capable of directly connecting to iPhones, iPads and other Apple products.

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