World Hearing Day: Bluetooth SIG Shows Support for World Hearing Day

For World Hearing Day 2020, the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) and Bluetooth SIG will present the potential of Bluetooth LE Audio for hearing aid users

In line with the WHO motto “Don’t let hearing loss limit you”, applications of the new audio standard will enable a comprehensive integration for people with hearing loss into everyday life

LONDON, 3rd March 2020 – To mark today’s World Hearing Day 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) are campaigning worldwide for an active and positive approach to hearing loss. The campaign provides comprehensive information about the prevention, treatment and consequences of hearing impairment and shows that hearing loss is not necessarily a stigma. A topic that is also being addressed by the trade association that oversees Bluetooth technology, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

Don’t let hearing loss limit you
Over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – has disabling hearing loss (432 million adults and 34 million children), with the average person waiting seven years to seek treatment.

“Those affected find it increasingly difficult to follow conversations in the family, to understand audio-visual content or to follow in meeting situations. Far too often they then withdraw from their social and professional environment. This does not have to happen,” explains Dr. Stefan Zimmer, Secretary General of EHIMA.

Experience hearing in a new way – with Bluetooth LE Audio
The recently introduced Bluetooth audio standard “LE Audio” will support hearing aids thanks to low energy consumption, high sound quality, and Multi-Stream Audio functionality.  LE Audio will also enable Audio Sharing, where a Bluetooth audio transmitter can broadcast audio to an unlimited number of Bluetooth audio receivers. This could form the basis of a next generation Assistive Listening System (ALS) that allows hearing aid users to receive announcements at train stations and the audio track in cinemas, theatres or conferences directly via the hearing aid. Audio Sharing also allows friends to enjoy music played on a smartphone through their Bluetooth headphones and hearing aids simultaneously.

“LE Audio will be one of the most significant advancements for hearing aid and hearing implant users. The fields of application range from theatres and concerts to train stations, airports and conferences and thus cover all areas of life,” Dr. Zimmer continues. “EHIMA and the Bluetooth SIG therefore support World Hearing Day efforts to motivate people to have their hearing checked regularly and not to stop participating in public and social life”.

“The Bluetooth developer community continues to drive the technology forward to meet market demands and unlock new potential,” said Mark Powell, CEO of Bluetooth SIG.  “LE Audio is a perfect example of this. Not only will it improve the performance of existing applications using Bluetooth audio, but it introduces a new use case for audio with Audio Sharing. It will completely change the way we experience audio and connect with the world around us.”

The Bluetooth specifications that define LE Audio are expected to be released in 2020. 

Find out more about how LE Audio will improve the lives of people with hearing loss at: https://bluetooth.com/hearing

About Bluetooth Technology
With close to 4 billion Bluetooth® enabled products shipping per year, Bluetooth technology is the global standard for simple, secure wireless connections. Since its formation in 1998, the Bluetooth community has continued to expand the capabilities of Bluetooth — powering innovation, creating new markets, and redefining communication worldwide. Today, Bluetooth is the wireless technology of choice for developers in many solution areas, including audio streaming, data transfer, location services, and large-scale device networks. To learn more, please visit: bluetooth.com.

About the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association
The European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) represents the six major hearing instrument manufacturers, producing up to 90% of hearing aids made globally. EHIMA was founded in 1985, and the members are among the world’s largest and most advanced hearing aid manufacturers.

About the Bluetooth SIG
Formed in 1998, the Bluetooth SIG is the not-for-profit trade association that oversees Bluetooth® technology. In support of more than 34,000 member companies, the Bluetooth SIG facilitates the collaboration of its members to create new and enhanced specifications that expand the technology, drives global interoperability via a world-class product qualification program, and grows the brand by increasing the awareness, understanding, and adoption of Bluetooth technology. To learn more, please visit: bluetooth.com.

Contacts
Europe, Middle East, Africa
Samantha Curtis
Octopus Group
+44 020 3837 3704
Bluetoothsig@octopusgrp.com