Bluetooth, hearing aids, and consumer products. Will there be a crossover?


I think the next thing will be based on the ‘official’ Bluetooth Hearing Aid Profile when it is released. I don’t see anyone bothering to develop any other solution in the interim. You’ll only get the full benefits when you live in a Bluetooth 5 ecosystem. Aids, phones, tvs, media players. Won’t happen overnight.

Sorry, I didn’t quite get the iqbuds reference. When nuheara quotes 20 hours battery life, they are being just a bit disingenuous. The 20 hours includes three recharges from the case which doubles as a battery bank. Battery life in general should be much improved in Bluetooth 5 devices. Bluetooth 5 is a low-energy specification. Iqbuds are Bluetooth Classic (not low energy).


I didn’t intend to imply that they were LE. I just quickly found that spec on their site and mentioned it as part of my point of what else were HA manufacturers to do with so few options. So Apple sidles up to them and says “we have an app for that” wink wink.


Exactly. It made functionality available for those who needed it. If I used my phone more than I do, I’d probably grit my teeth and jump ship to Apple.


Other than the fact that my KS7’s aren’t mfi …the fact that my wonderful Blackberry will fade to black leaving me with deciding on a different OS…well…grumble grumble…ah crap…but I hate Apple!
But we’ll see how much longer I can stretch what I have until there are actual options available working all of the ways I would like it to.
My spouses company benefits will be available in another 3 years so we’ll see if my KS7’s are still alive and my phone and make some choices then. Technology. Me thinks the phone will go first. Drat.


I’ll do a bit of it for you. Google is going to have to revisit their delivery model of the OS being tied to hardware. A large # of devices cannot be updated to fix security concerns. Even though the CRTC has changed the rules on locking a device to the provider, many devices cannot be rooted to update the OS. 2 year old flagship devices are becoming prematurely obsolete - essentially bricks. Something has to change. I’m not an Apple fanboy, but I have to admire how they handle these types of issues.

Stepping off the soapbox.


The Bluetooth interest groups which devise the standards do not just give all this away for free. My understanding is that contributors will get access first and then others can pay for access. Grading up to new standards costs so it isn’t universally taken up at first. The standards don’t make their way to devices or hardware for variable periods of time. With android phones running on such a variety of versions of operating systems it will be a long time for standards to make their way to the consumers.

Apple has most of its users on their latest iOS and most upgrade their hardware semi-regularly. That gives them the advantage. They also want to do this - unlike the android phone manufacturers who do not prioritise it. Don’t blame Apple for bothering. Blame the others for not.


Adopter level membership of the Bluetooth SIG is free and allows your company to use Bluetooth technology and the Bluetooth brand. Associate level membership is paid-for and allows your company to contribute to development and gets you access to ‘pre-adopted’ specifications.

I doubt that anyone’s current phone will ever support the Bluetooth 5 Hearing Aid Profile. Once the profile is released though, adoption won’t take that long. The semi-conductor manufacturers will be all over the Bluetooth SIG and will be doing iterative designs and prototypes even before the release of the final specs. Of course, I can say this with absolute confidence, having got all my intel from Google and my own conjectures… I’d love to be fly on the wall at a meeting of the Bluetooth SIG Hearing Aid Working Group.


Early access allows for early adoption though. I still think the end user won’t see that benefit for a while yet. The holy grail of everyone using any device to connect with any hearing aids is a long way off.

Bluetooth 5 and handsfree

@d_Wooluf has it correct. It you don’t publish a standard it isn’t a standard. Nothing about it will be secret. Instead, all will be trying to tweak their chip to have added features to try to get a bit of a premium for their product.

Apple bought a chip company years ago that did such tweaking. MFi operated on top of the BT4 standard in such a fashion. It served the full BT4 spec and above and that help Apple capitalize on having not only MFi but a feature rich and reliable capability with BT4 enhancements.

All the standard does is specify the minimum requirements that hardware and software types can rely on being available.

At every level, there will be attempts to differentiate their product with outstanding reliability or improved features. Going from BT4 to BT5 just reflects the need and refinement that’s taken place or come into being in the interim.

Apple is proprietary and does what it wants. Google owns Android and will incorporate minimums in future OS. It is the real source for how fast all that happens. They will set an actual minimum standard. They will do this by putting a feature in the standard and not certifying that a product meets that standard.

Understand that MFi is baked into the Apple O/S. It isn’t an App that you or I might write to run on it. To do an App goes through an intermediate level with limit access to the base hardware/OS via the API. While MFi operate using the core system. That is a large difference in speed and priority that users of the API don’t have.


@KenP: Just so it’s clear…I made my “app for that” quip knowing full well bluetooth isn’t just an app. My quip was a pun on one of their advertising campaigns. I could’ve been clearer disclaiming that.


@z10user2 Heck, we all make omissions or are perfectly clear only in our own minds. It’s the nature of the forum beast.

Authors get editors to review their writing. We don’t and sometimes it shows.

I’m as guilty of OOPS situations as much as anybody.

With all the resurrected threads popping up, I am reading some of my post like they were new and groaning at what or how I said something. Oh well on to the next one.

The only saving grace is another person helping out with clarification. :slight_smile:

(P.S. I wasn’t even recalling your post but addressing others.)


The standards don’t get released immediately but that gives those who contributed to the group an edge. They are the only ones who know what is coming and they can prepare for it. Their devices will be the first to implement it or at least be compatible. It is not a quick process. Adopting new technology is also expensive so cheaper phones will take a lot longer to catch up even when it is released. About a year ago everyone said this would happen quickly and we are still waiting.


Well, the release of an IEEE standards committee makes it to all the players who will do something with it. The standard committee is made up of those who support the effort financially. But others can join, they just don’t get participation in establishing the standard. And standards are a starting point and only written in stone for the minimum requirements.

It’s like the drug industry would have to share their product without copyright protection letting anyone build a better product from that. :wink:


I’m not complaining just explaining. Since I use Apple products and they are part of the group setting the standards I am sure I am likely to be happy with the end result.


I mentioned a while ago that I’d contacted Nick Hunn, the chair of the Bluetooth SIG Hearing aid working group. Here is his response. I don’t think he’d mind me quoting it.

Apologies for the delay in approving this – it got caught in a junk folder I didn’t even know existed.
As far as the Bluetooth work is concerned, we’re trying to enable a decent quality audio stream for both voice and music which will not have a major impact on battery life. I suspect that many users will employ that for listening to TVs, as well as voice for phone calls. There’s very little delay, so if someone else is listening to the TV normally and you’re receiving the Bluetooth stream you won’t experience any delays. We’re also supporting broadcast audio, which will probably replace telecoils to provide good quality over larger areas, as well as making it much cheaper to provide public access.
The usage models have been driven by hearing aid manufacturers as well as consumer audio companies, so we’re focusing on a spectrum of qualities. At the end of the day, the specification is essentially a toolbox of capabilities. I don’t know which ones will be adopted first by hearing aid, phone and TV manufacturers, nor what other bells and whistles they may add. What I hope is that it provides an opportunity for innovation over the coming ten to twenty years. Nor can I predict when these products will come to market, as it needs manufacturers of both ends of the link – i.e. hearing aids and TVs or phones to support it. What I can say is that there is massive enthusiasm within the different industries, although getting standards into new products always takes longer than we would hope.


Thanks for forwarding that d_Wooluf.
Man…Apple sure got the jump on everybody didn’t they.
Can’t wait for this all to be standardized and adopted and rolled out.