The European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) represents the major European hearing instrument manufacturers, offering smart hearing aid and implant solutions for people with hearing loss. Members of EHIMA develop, manufacture, and market hearing instruments on a large scale in one or more countries in Europe as well as exporting their products worldwide. Products manufactured by EHIMA members account for 90 percent of the global market share.

In a recent interview with Nikolai Bisgaard from EHIMA, we discussed the impact  Auracast™ broadcast audio will have on hearing aids and assistive listening systems.

“Auracast™ broadcast audio opens up amazing opportunities for streaming audio signals to large audiences.”

Q&A with Nikolai Bisgaard from EHIMA

What is your role in the development of the Bluetooth LE Audio specifications?

EHIMA approached the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) in 2013 with a wish for specific features that would allow hearing aids to employ Bluetooth® technology to expand the connectivity to other devices. Low power operation makes Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) the most attractive version for hearing aids, but the lack of an audio transmission protocol was a serious shortcoming at the time. Having worked in the hearing aid industry for decades, I realized the huge potential of the new version and have been employed by EHIMA to promote the new standard.

What has you most excited about Auracast™ broadcast audio, and how might it impact the lives of people with hearing loss?

Auracast™ broadcast audio opens up amazing opportunities for streaming audio signals to large audiences without prior pairing of the source and the hearing aids.

Many people with hearing loss must have access to assistive listening systems with direct streaming to fully enjoy sound in public venues where competing noise and reverberation pose serious challenges. When an affordable mainstream technology like Bluetooth can provide such services, we will see a proliferation of assistive listening systems to the benefit of hearing aid users across the world. Many users of headsets and earbuds will also benefit from these new opportunities.

Can you explain the difference between Auracast™ broadcast audio and existing options (e.g., telecoil/loop, etc.)?

Auracast™ broadcast audio will have many advantages over the telecoil/loop systems. Improved sound quality and no interference from other electronic devices are important benefits. The ease of installation of a wireless system will also help to make this technology popular.

FEATURED INNOVATION

Auracast™ Broadcast Audio

A new, global consumer service, Auracast™ broadcast audio will deliver audio accessibility and enhanced listening experiences for everyone, improving the way you engage with others and the world around you.

LEARN MORE

Auracast™ broadcast audio holds the promise to satisfy many use cases, such as large-area listening in public venues, 1:1 hearing assistance at service counters, public TVs, and personal audio sharing (e.g., streaming music to multiple speakers or earbuds). Which use case are you most excited about and why?

We are excited by most of these use cases that, in time, will bring important benefits to hearing aid users, but the large-area listening in public venues is currently the use case we believe will bring the most benefits for hearing aid users.

“Auracast™ broadcast audio will enable listening…in venues where noise often prevents you from a quality experience.”

How will you use the Auracast™ broadcast audio feature?

The majority of all modern hearing aids already use Bluetooth® technology for programming the devices to the specific need of each use. When Bluetooth LE Audio is implemented in coming generations of hearing aids, they will be able to benefit from Auracast™ broadcast audio as well as connectivity to phones, TVs, and other devices. Bluetooth technology will be a new input source that hearing aid users can select.

How will new Auracast™ broadcast audio capabilities impact our lives?

Auracast™ broadcast audio will enable listening to all sorts of audio material in venues where noise often prevents you from a quality experience. For instance, TV monitors in public areas are normally muted, and you must read the transcribed text in ticker lines. With Auracast™ broadcast audio, you will be able to pick the sound directly in your hearing instruments, headsets, or earbuds and listen without disturbing other people.

When might we expect to see hearing aids with Auracast™ broadcast audio capabilities hitting the market?

That is hard to say. The specifications are just about to be finalized, and since hearing aids are medical devices and thus subject to rather strict regulatory requirements, it will take some time to get products out. The transmitters for assistive listening are provided by some specialized companies that also need to develop and market their products before it all comes together.

Do you plan to have products and solutions with Bluetooth LE Audio and Auracast™ broadcast audio capabilities?

I am confident that all major hearing aid manufacturers are cooking on their first products with Bluetooth LE Audio.

FEATURED INNOVATION

Auracast™ Broadcast Audio

A new, global consumer service, Auracast™ broadcast audio will deliver audio accessibility and enhanced listening experiences for everyone, improving the way you engage with others and the world around you.

LEARN MORE

ABI Snapshot – Key findings from the 2024 Bluetooth Market Update

In this ABI Snapshot, ABI Research’s Senior Director Andrew Zignani and Bluetooth SIG’s Market…

Auracast™ Broadcast Audio Is Heard Loud and Clear at HLAA 2024

Last week, a wide range of hearing health innovations were introduced at this year’s…

Auracast™ - Hear, There and Everywhere

Most everyone reading this enjoys the benefits of Bluetooth®. Providing short-range wireless point-to-point solutions…

Now Available: Auracast™ Developer Best Practice Guides公開中:Auracast™開発者向けベストプラクティスガイド

When Bluetooth® LE Audio was released, it introduced broadcast audio to Bluetooth technology. This…

How to Build an Auracast Assistant

This document covers the basic design principles for building an Auracast™ assistant, explaining the…

How to Build an Auracast Transmitter

This document covers the basic design principles for building an Auracast™ transmitter, explaining the…

How to Design Auracast Earbuds

This document covers the basic design principles for building Auracast™️ earbuds and other receiver…

Bluetooth® LE Audio and Auracast Going Mainstream Will Redefine Wireless Audio

Three-and-a-half years on from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group’s (SIG) announcement of a new…

The Future of Connectivity: Embracing Bluetooth Low Energy Audio and Auracast™

The hearing industry is constantly challenging themselves to help those with hearing loss stay…

Transforming Spaces with Bluetooth LE Audio Auracast

In this video, we introduce the new NXH3675 Bluetooth LE chipset from NXP Semiconductors,…

2024 Bluetooth® Market Update

The 2024 Bluetooth® Market Update examines the direction and adoption of Bluetooth technology.

Auracast Broadcast Audio Retrofit Solutions and Opportunities

This report by ABI Research delves into the opportunity for public spaces to offer…

What's the Range of Auracast Broadcast Audio?

Get the answer to the question everyone’s asking. Find out what the coverage area…

Can You Add Auracast Support to Existing Devices?

Are you waiting for native Auracast™ support? You might not have to. Find out…

Is the Number of Auracast Receivers Really Unlimited?

Not convinced? Learn how an unlimited number of Auracast™ receivers can join a single…

LE Audio: The Future of Bluetooth® Audio

ABI Research outlines how the arrival of LE Audio is set to transform the Bluetooth audio ecosystem and the impact it will have on Bluetooth® audio market forecasts.

Introducing Bluetooth® LE Audio

Now available for free digital download, get your copy of this in-depth, technical overview of the LE Audio specifications.

 Get Help