With the release of the new iOS7 operating system and iPhone® 5s and 5c models, Apple appears to be taking another step closer to "made for iPhone" hearing aids.
iOS7 provides a few advances with the hearing impaired in mind:
- Additional support for “made for iPhone” hearing aids (in preparation for when they become available)
- Support for stereo audio for iPhone 5 and iPod Touch (5th generation)
- Improved integration with Bluetooth® 4.0 accessories (BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy)
Bluetooth 4.0 technology could eventually lead to three important advances in hearing instrument and iPhone compatibility:
- Direct connection between hearing aids and iPhones (without the use of a streamer)
- Clearer, more natural sounding audio (due to improved wireless transmission of the audio)
- Lower power consumption (leading to improved battery life)
Jordan Kahn of “9to5 Mac” predicts that hearing aids and Apple designed hearing aid technology with Bluetooth 4.0 will be released by the end of 2013. Click here to read his blog on how advances in Apple's new operating system could pave the way for “made for iPhone” hearing aids.
Bluetooth 4.0 technology is not currently available in hearing instruments. However, GN Resound has released technology featuring a 2.4 gHz low-power communications protocol in line with Bluetooth 4.0 functionality. Also, Oticon's new Inium technology boasts of faster processing speeds and lower power consumption than the 2.4 gHz protocol. Three hearing aid manufacturers- GN Resound, Oticon, and Starkey, are working with Apple to release technology with the “made for iPhone” label by the end of 2013.
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