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Cochlear Complete Hearing Solution - September 2019

Cochlear and GN Hearing Become World’s First to Support Direct Android Streaming to Hearing Devices Using Bluetooth Low Energy

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Collaboration with Google on hearing aid specification now officially brings direct streaming of music, phone calls and other sound to people with hearing loss. For the first time, people can stream sound from their compatible Android devices to their hearing devices using Bluetooth Low Energy.

BALLERUP, Denmark & SYDNEY--()--GN Hearing, the global leader in hearing aid connectivity, and Cochlear, the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, together with Google, today announce world-first support for direct streaming from Android™ devices to hearing devices using Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE).

The new technology is based on a recent hearing aid specification, Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on Bluetooth Low Energy Connection-Oriented Channels, which Google has developed in collaboration with GN Hearing and Cochlear. This new direct streaming technology from compatible* Android devices allows people to use their hearing devices like a headset to enjoy music, take calls and much more, while using a protocol designed to maximise battery life.1 With BLE, people can use technology designed for streaming all day while preserving the battery life of their hearing devices, which is a challenge for the traditional Classic Bluetooth streaming currently available.

Around 466 million people worldwide live with disabling hearing loss**, and the number is increasing by millions every year, according to the World Health Organization.2 With the official release of Android 10, Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 3a XL* will be the first Android phones to support direct streaming to ReSound LiNX Quattro™ and Beltone Amaze™ hearing aids and the Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor. The new streaming technology will be available by way of an update to Android 10, plus a firmware update on the hearing devices. The streaming specification is open source, which allows other manufacturers of hearing aids and Android devices to offer direct audio streaming in the near future.

“The streaming capability with the latest hearing devices from Cochlear or GN Hearing expands accessibility to more consumer technology. The benefit to our users is they will no longer have to use an intermediate device to stream audio from a compatible Android device to their cochlear implant sound processor or hearing aid,” says Jan Janssen, Chief Technology Officer, Cochlear.

“We’ve partnered up with some of the leading technology companies in the world to deliver innovation with the user at heart. Now people with hearing loss can enjoy effortless streaming all day long and easily connect with people,” says Jakob Gudbrand, CEO and President of GN Hearing.

1. Cochlear Limited. D1140877. Battery Life and Power Consumption Comparison between CP1000, CP900 Series and CP810 Sound Processors. 2017, Mar; Data on file.

2. World Health Organization (WHO): deafness and hearing loss, March 2019. Available at https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss. Last accessed August 8, 2019.

* For compatibility information and devices visit www.cochlear.com/compatibility and www.resound.com/compatibility. Full streaming compatibility with Android devices requires minimum Android version 10 and Bluetooth 5.0 and that functionality has been enabled by the phone manufacturer and service carrier. Accordingly, the compatibility information provided should be used for reference only. Although Cochlear and GN strive to achieve seamless device compatibilities, Cochlear and GN cannot guarantee full compatibility with all Android devices.

**Disabling hearing loss refers to hearing loss greater than 40dB in the better hearing ear in adults and a hearing loss greater than 30dB in the better hearing ear in children.

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