Last week, a wide range of hearing health innovations were introduced at this year’s Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Convention in Phoenix. The largest event of its kind, the HLAA brings together a unique mix of industry and technology experts to demonstrate the latest advances in hearing health care and assistive listening technology.

One of this year’s show stealers at the convention was Auracast™ broadcast audio. Given its popularity last year at HLAA, as well as the big impact this new Bluetooth® capability made at other major events (Mobile World Congress, Computex, CES, and more), it’s no surprise that Auracast™ products and solutions continued to pique interest at HLAA 2024.

New Assistive Listening Technology

Auracast™ broadcast audio is a new Bluetooth capability that supports the broadcasting of an audio stream to an unlimited number of users simultaneously, and many analysts expect it to revolutionize public listening in the coming years. Auracast™ broadcast audio will let you share your audio, unmute public TVs, and hear your best out in the world. 

For example, imagine attending a conference and being able to tune into the audio of any speaker in the conference hall, hearing what they’re saying directly through your earbuds or hearing instruments with clear, high-quality audio that drowns out the distracting ambient noise of thousands of people talking around you. This year’s attendees had an opportunity to do just that.

Auracast™ Workshops at HLAA 2024

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Amongst the broad range of audio innovations being shared at HLAA 2024, the event provided several opportunities to allow attendees to explore Auracast™ broadcast audio firsthand, including an interactive workshop: Keeping Up With Progress and Deployment of Auracast™ Broadcast Audio. In this special pilot program, attendees got to see for themselves all the benefits Auracast™ broadcast audio can provide.

Made possible by a partnership between Listen Technologies, Ampetronic, and GN ReSound with support from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), this educational workshop gave attendees firsthand insight into Auracast™ broadcast audio, a new Bluetooth standard for broadcast audio and access to audio in public spaces. Representatives from those organizations discussed the Auracast™ pilot installation that HLAA attendees had a chance to try for themselves, as well as other ways they could experience Auracast™ broadcast audio, today.

“We are honored to present at a workshop at this year’s HLAA Convention and to join Ampetronic, GN ReSound, the Bluetooth SIG, HLAA, and other advocates for the hearing loss community in showcasing technologies that increase accessibility to clear audio for everyone,” said Tracy Bathurst, chief technology officer at Listen Technologies.

Three conference rooms at the venue were outfitted with Auracast™ transmitters. So, attendees who visited select booths were able to check out an Auracast™ receiver (hearing aid or earbud) and tune into sessions offered in those conference rooms via Auracast™ broadcast audio.

“Everyone was impressed with the capabilities Auracast™ broadcast audio enabled,” said Kayla Myrhow, senior product marketing manager for the Bluetooth SIG. “Each of the three workshop rooms were outfitted with an AURI transmitter from Ampetronic and Listen Technologies, allowing attendees to use headphones with a receiver, or GN Resound Nexia hearing aids to listen and participate better in the workshops.”

Products with Auracast™ support are available today, and this technology is being added to new hearing aids, cochlear implants, and consumer hearing devices. It is currently supported in many new smartphones, tablets, and TVs, and has been introduced in commercial transmitters and receivers for public spaces.

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Auracast™ Broadcast Audio Retrofit Solutions and Opportunities

This report by ABI Research delves into the opportunity for public spaces to offer new Auracast™ augmented audio experiences and enhanced assistive listening to its occupants and visitors by using cost-effective retrofit Auracast™ solutions, accelerating wider adoption of Auracast™ transmitters as well as receiver devices.

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Auracast™ Broadcast Audio in the Real World

Soon, Auracast™ broadcast audio will be available in many of the places you like to frequent. Evidence of the inevitability of Auracast™ adoption in public locations came last month in an announcement from Google. Anticipating rapid deployment of Auracast™ broadcast audio in a broad range of public spaces, Google announced they have added the ability for venues and businesses to indicate support for Auracast™ broadcast audio within their locations.

And Google is not alone. Recently, Listen Technologies and Ampetronic as well as GN ReSound both announced the releases of their Auracast™ hearing aids. Listen Technologies and Ampetronics solution, Auri™ was designed as a complete, installed Auracast™ broadcast audio-based assistive listening solution that includes networked installation transmitters for multi-channel broadcast in any size space with the option for open or secure transmission.

GN Hearing, recently launched its next-generation hearing aid family, ReSound Nexia. ReSound Nexia uses Auracast™ broadcast audio to connect, enabling people with hearing loss to benefit from this new advancement in audio connectivity.

Beyond Assistive Listening

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In addition to providing a cutting-edge assistive listening solution, Auracast™ broadcast audio will also enable you to use your hearing instruments to fully enjoy televisions in public spaces, unmuting what was once silent and creating a more complete watching experience. In some places, it is common for multiple muted TV monitors to show various sports or programs at once, but the ambient noise can make it difficult to hear the commentary. 

Auracast™ TVs will allow you to use your smartphone to select the TV of your choice in these venues and listen via Auracast™ compatible earbuds, headphones, or any personal listening device. Where multiple TVs are present, you will be able to switch to the audio of another TV, selecting a new broadcast without a moment’s delay.

Auracast™ broadcast audio will also let you share your audio in new ways. You’ll soon be able to invite friends and family around you to share in your personal Bluetooth audio experience. We’ve all been in situations where we’re using our earbuds to listen to music on our smartphone or watch a movie on our laptop, and we want someone we’re with to hear what we’re hearing without having to hand them take one of our earbuds. Or maybe we want to share our audio with someone who’s wearing a hearing instrument.

Fortunately, smartphones, tablets, and laptops will soon add Auracast™ broadcast audio, so you’ll be able to let others around you use their Bluetooth earbuds or hearing devices to join in and listen to your personal audio experience.

Learn more about this new Bluetooth® capability through The Auracast™ Experience, and see how Auracast™ solutions will enhance audio accessibility for all.

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The Auracast™ Experience

The Auracast™ Experience is a global series of immersive demonstration events that allow visitors to experience some of the ways Auracast™ broadcast audio will help our world sound better.

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