LE Audio and the Future of Hearing

I was wondering, why is the range of bluetooth so diminishing? For example, it sometimes happens to me that while listening to music there is an interruption, it sounds like interference in the connection between (compilot and smartphone), similarly it happens when the compilot is in front of me and the smartphone behind me, so my body sometimes breaks the connection. hears (t ttt ttt ttt)
Will the new bluetooth codec be the same? Should there be a bigger antenna for that? For example, I opened a compilot a long time ago to see what it looks like from the inside and I wonder where the bluetooth antenna is?
I opened a compilot that broke down in the hope of fixing it, unfortunately I didn’t know and it stopped being produced, so I bought another one via ebay.

Bluetooth 5.2 features Isochronous Channels which is designed to be more forgiving of lost packets. So if a packet isn’t received when it’s supposed to be received, it’s forgotten about and the device waits for the next packet. With the LC3 codec the audio is supposed to degrade more gracefully as the signal gets weaker, so you probably won’t get that severe distortion you get with classic bluetooth audio when you get close to the limits of bluetooth range.


Wi-Hi: toward a Wireless Interface for Hearing Instruments

“To support the hearing impaired, various wireless technologies for hearing
instruments have been available for many years. Products based on such
technologies can for instance be used in public venues. With the latest generation
of Bluetooth Low Energy Audio, the range of possibilities is expanded
considerably. This paper addresses the new developments and the question what
people with hearing loss may expect in the near future.”

This paper is more of a statement of intent than anything else. It does give us a name for that broadcast system that Bluetooth LE Audio has been promising. In the not-too-distant future, when you’ve got hearing aids that support Bluetooth LE Audio and you’re considering going out to catch a movie, look for a venue that advertises “Wi-Hi” support.


It’s great that they gave the technology a name but I think it’s a lousy name. “Wi-Hi?!” C’mon, folks may think we’re suffering a speech impediment and can’t properly pronounce “Wi-Fi.” It would have been better, IMHO, to pick a name with less overlap with a common existing word. Props, though, for the brevity of the name. I guess we’ll learn to live with it, though. :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t think ‘LE Audio’ is the catchiest name ever coined either.

Oticon More, confirmed with support for Bluetooth 5.2 LE Audio!


Question remains, when will the bluetooth become widely available?

Depends on what one’s definition of “widely available” is. Qualcomm is building BT 5.2 into chips that should be in phones released in 2021. Maybe in the iPhone released in 2021-the iphone 13??? - or some other name for the superstitious!?. When stuffy old venues update is another matter but I should imagine between phone and HA’s, the answer is going to be BT LE Audio is coming “real soon now.”

It just reminds me of Resound promising wide Bluetooth connectivity, while that Asha thing was only enabled after a long time, and even then only for certain newer phones. 2021 is still a long time from now, and not everyone can afford a new iPhone.

Samsung is going to release the S21 early 2021 to take advantage of Apple’s late release of the iPhone 12 (compared to past years).

Both the Exynos processor and the Qualcomm 875 processor (U.S. version of S21) have BT 5.2. So Samsung’s 2021 phone release in the next few months (“still a long time from now”…) will be BT LE Audio capable, presumably needing a firmware update at most since LC3 is just a codec that needs the hardware that qualifies a phone for the BT 5.2 spec.

Quote from sammobile: Galaxy S21 Ultra and Exynos 1080 SoC acquire key regulatory approvals - SamMobile

In parallel with the Galaxy S21 Ultra acquiring its NFC certificate, the upcoming Exynos 1080 SoC also saw a surprise entry in the Bluetooth database. The chipset is compatible with Bluetooth version 5.2 and it was successfully tested by the regulatory agency over the past few days.

Quote from Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 vs Snapdragon 875 Specs Comparsion (dopetechnews.com) (Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 on left, 875 on right):

And not everyone can afford new HA’s…! Can cost more than FIVE new iPhones if you go for the full-package deal at a full service audi…, especially if one’s insurance only partially covers replacement every 3 to 5 years - it’s the HCP cost of BT 5.2 that I’d worrry about! :wink:

I’m always the skeptic. :>) I really am hopeful, but I’m also confident this new tech will come with plenty of glitches.

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We don’t know yet when iPhone will support Bluetooth 5.2 LE Audio. We don’t know if it requires new hardware or if it will work with existing iPhone. Since iPhone supports MFI Hearing aids, it could be that all existing iPhones will support Bluetooth 5.2 LE Audio with a firmware update.

MFI hearing aids are very similiar to Bluetooth 5.2 LE Audio so if we are lucky, a lot of existing hardware might be upgraded soon.

I agree, but Phonak sold hearing aids which out of the box were already compatible with any phone, this was not the case with Resound, nor is it now with Oticon. I will maybe, but it is not yet the case.

Qualcomm’s latest chip, announced today, the Snapdragon 888. Speculation that this will be the chip in the U.S. version of Samsung’s shortly upcoming Galaxy S21. Contains BT 5.2 and states "LE Audio Features under “Bluetooth Audio” tag. Can Apple be far behind (or isn’t it, will Apple be far ahead? - the M1 Apple Silicon chip outperforms the Microsoft Surface Pro X running an emulation of ARM-based Windows 10!) (searching for right link for the Snapdragon 888, if available. Cannot find on Qualcomm site yet but here is Thurrott.com announcement on release: Qualcomm Unveils the Snapdragon 888 - Thurrott.com)

BTW below is link for Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G, still touted on Qualcomm site as “Latest 5G Snapdragon Processor.”

Overview | Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G Mobile Platform | Latest 5G Snapdragon Processor | Qualcomm


Bluetooth Audio: Qualcomm® aptX™ Adaptive Audio, LE Audio Features, aptX Voice audio for super wide band voice calls, Bluetooth 5.2, Qualcomm TrueWireless™ Stereo

Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5.2

Just like the Marvels first came with a number of glitches or shortcomings in classic BT features …

Yes, new tech tends to be glitchy. (Although what most people complained about with Marvels initially, they weren’t designed to do (pair with more than one device) Regarding Bluetooth 5.2, I think there’s a good chance Qualcomm’s new 700 series (775?) chip will have it and I’ve seen some sources claim 768G has it. I think there’s always the possibility until the standard is finalized that something that is supposed to compatible isn’t fully.

Because there is the master/slave relationship between HA’s, there was an additional streaming complication in wide-open outdoors spaces lacking reflectivity to help bounce the wireless signal between HA’s whereas for better or worse, it’s just device to separate HA communication via 2.4 GHz frequencies for MFi and ASHA (and presumabably BT LE Audio). And perhaps one could count less efficient use of HA battery than for MFi streaming from an iPhone to HA’s. There is still ear to ear communication for BT LE HA’s - can’t remember what wireless protocols used there for various HA’s - usually something more head-penetrating like NFMI?..

Edit_Update: Another article on the Qualcomm 888. It is what should have been the Snapdragon 875 by Qualcomm’s past numbering system but renumbered because “888” is considered a special lucky number in Chinese culture, according to the following BBC article: Qualcomm: Android phones to get ‘lucky number’ Snapdragon 888 chip - BBC News

Devices powered by the chip should be on sale by March.

If the firm had followed its previous naming convention, it would have been numbered the 875. One expert suggested the decision had significance.

“It may point to Qualcomm extending an olive branch to those in the industry caught up in the ongoing China-US trade war,” suggested Deborah Petrara from ABI Research.

“888 is regarded by the Chinese as a symbol of fortune and prosperity, which will also undoubtedly chime well with Qualcomm’s expectations of success.”

The Bluetooth 5.2 standard is finalised, and you can certify against it.

I don’t think so for ASHA. I found https://www.tirichlabs.com/blog/asha-gatt-le-hearing-aid/… See under “Synchronizing Peripheral devices”.

Great that we’ll be seeing compatible devices soon, but we’ll need the LE Audio specifications ratified first, then wait for Apple/Android to bake it into the OS. I think if we see LE Audio in phones before the end of next year we’ll be lucky.


As I indicated, it’s not via a BT protocol, e.g., ASHA, but probably something like NFMI (near-field magnetic induction, what HA OEM’s were using in general before ReSound came up with using a BT-like 2.4 GHz protocol for phone to HA communication).

I didn’t search very hard, just came up with a single example to prove my point for the ReSound Quattro’s, captured from this ReSound page: Hearing aids ReSound - phonenow

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Regarding finalization of Bluetooth 5.2 Do you know if there are “optional” features? This was the case with BT 5 and many phones did not have the optional features. I guess my concern is that since LE audio isn’t finalized that it might have a requirement that isn’t required in BT 5.2

Ok. I stand corrected.

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