New Features of „LE Audio“ (Image: Bluetooth Special Interest Group)
New Features of „LE Audio“ (Image: Bluetooth Special Interest Group)

World Hearing Day 2020

Bluetooth LE Audio for Hearing Aids

On the occasion of yesterday's "World Hearing Day", the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) presented the advantages of the new "LE Audio" standard for hearing aids.

"LE Audio" is not to be confused with "Bluetooth Low Energy" (LE). While it is based on the low-power LE standard it offers a number of new and improved audio features. These include for example "Multi-Stream": the separate, synchronous transmission of the left and right stereo channel directly to the left and right earplugs or hearing aid. The new "LC3" codec also promises better sound quality than the previously mandatory "SBC" codec. Of particular interest to hearing aid users, however, is the "broadcast" feature: while the classic Bluetooth transmission always establishes a point-to-point connection, a Bluetooth audio transmitter with LE Audio can transmit the sound to an unlimited number of Bluetooth audio receivers. This would enable hearing aid users to receive announcements at train stations as well as the sound track in cinemas, theatres or conferences directly through their hearing aids. "Audio Sharing" also allows friends to enjoy the music played on a smartphone through multiple Bluetooth devices - headphones or hearing aids - at the same time. In addition to the LC3 codec, which is optimized for particularly low power consumption, LE Audio specifies the optional "LC3plus" codec for particularly high sound quality. The exact LE Audio specifications are expected to be published in the first half of 2020. Besides LE Audio, most devices will also continue to support the previous "Classic Audio" standard.


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