Advancing audio accessibility for all

By Ceri Whitaker, Manager, GN External Relations
How can we make hearing more inclusive and accessible for all? Get the key takeaways from our recent roundtable with Bluetooth SIG and hearing experts and influencers.

The future of connectivity is here and it is beginning to expand listening opportunities for everyone – at home and in public spaces globally – to make hearing more inclusive and accessible.

How? New ReSound Nexia hearing aids connect with both Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) Audio devices and new Auracast  broadcast audio so people with hearing loss can engage with the world in even more ways and on equal terms.

Excitement and curiosity 

The new wireless connectivity technologies available with ReSound Nexia have generated excitement from the public – and sparked the curiosity of hearing industry experts who want to learn more.

That’s why we at GN Hearing got together with our friends at Bluetooth SIG and invited hearing experts, journalists, and influencers to sit around a virtual table to talk about the technologies and the possibilities for users. The roundtable event included Dr. Laurel Christensen, GN Chief Audiology Officer and Thomas Olsgaard, GN Principal Research and Technology and Chuck Sabin, Senior Director, Market Development for the Bluetooth SIG who were all on hand to answer questions from guests. 

There were several main themes that came up during the roundtable.

1. How did we get here?

Wireless connectivity has been around for a while, but until recently, most people wearing hearing aids were excluded from direct connectivity with many of their devices, such as personal computers. A clear need became apparent.

The development of Bluetooth® LE Audio stemmed from the hearing aid industry with the aim to help people with hearing loss expand and improve connectivity and communication opportunities. It has exciting new capabilities, such as AuracastTM, and is being rolled out globally.

2. AuracastTM: Hearing aid users are early adopters

What is AuracastTM broadcast audio and why is it so exciting? It is a new capability from Bluetooth® technology that aims to support new assistive listening systems that will enable people to select their own individual attachment to a sound or a listening experience at public venues, such as stadiums, airports, stations, gyms, sports bars, cinemas, that are equipped with an AuracastTM  transmitter.

AuracastTM broadcast audio will benefit everyone. But, with ReSound Nexia, hearing aid users can actually be early adopters of this technology – even before consumer electronics.

3. Mainstream

In the personal device space, the new Bluetooth® LE Audio standard will improve the user connectivity and streaming experience with phones, TVs, laptops, etc., with better performance and lower battery use.

Then in the public space, AuracastTM broadcast audio will have a broad-reaching appeal and enable inclusivity and accessibility for all. Hearing aid users can tune in to what others are listening to and can sit wherever they want to hear, instead of being in a designated space covered by a traditional loop system.

Offering AuracastTM broadcast audio at a location can be a competitive advantage for businesses and places where people meet and get entertained. Take the sports bar: tune into an AuracastTM broadcast audio stream and have conversations at the same time as watching the game and enjoying the atmosphere. Everyone can hear what they want in their preferred way. There is no divide between those with hearing loss and those without.

4. Co-existing with other technologies

What about telecoil systems? AuracastTM broadcast audio is the next generation of assistive listening. It blankets areas with a broader transmission and will be cost effective and easy to install.  However, you don’t need to replace telecoils, which people still need and can use.  

Think of AuracastTM broadcast audio as something you can put on top – like the cherry on top of the cake – where it will exist alongside telecoil.

5. Simplicity is key

AuracastTM broadcast audio will be simple and easy to use. People will be able to scan for access points the same way as with WiFi or use a QR code to locate the specific audio stream they want to listen to. The experience is set to be huge, and the sound experience and social engagement with ReSound Nexia hearing aids will keep on expanding, now and in the future.

6. Roll-out and accessibility

Bluetooth® LE Audio and AuracastTM broadcast audio represent the future of connectivity, and it is starting now. The roll-out will be driven by consumer electronics and public places, as well as the hearing industry. If you are investing in hearing aids now, it’s a good idea to future-proof your investment by having this technology capability now, so you don’t miss out or have to catch up later on. 

Interested in ReSound Nexia?

Learn more about ReSound Nexia. 

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