LE Audio and the Future of Hearing

The bad news is “the organization doesn’t expect the rest of the specifications that define all the use cases for LE Audio to be released before mid-year 2021”


“Challenges remaining to be addressed, according to Markus Schnell, will consist mainly on manufacturers resisting the temptation to continue to implement their own proprietary audio codec and profile for Bluetooth transmission, limiting interoperability”

Question people

I’ve heard that devices that use the Iphone or Asha protocol are not two-way, but one-way. This means that the microphone on the hearing aid cannot be used, but it is necessary to bring the smartphone closer so that the interlocutor can hear what I am saying.

Will the new LC3 be bidirectional?

Yes. Multiple independent streams. So one stream from the phone to each of the hearing aids and another stream from the microphone on the hearing aids to the phone.


Didn’t they say when BT LE Audio was initially announced that they didn’t expect it to be fully available until the 2022-2023 time frame? So the dates that are dribbling out would be consistent with that roadmap.

They expected the specifications to be released throughout the first half of 2020. So it’s drifted by a long way. It’s here (towards the end):


LC3 codec is not a communication protocol. ASHA is using the G.722 codec and Apple is using a custom propitiatory codec.

LC3 is one piece of a large puzzle. ASHA and MFI HA can use LC3 codec as an encoder and decoder backend

As an engineer, I’m seeing communication protocol missing from specs and probably not finished or nearing completion.

Here’s an interesting NY Times rundown on BT codecs, including LC3 at the end. The guy says he was formerly marketing director for Dolby and worked on promoting the AAC codec but has no financial interest in Dolby or that technology since he left. He says expect LC3 products in late 2021 or 2022 without saying how he knows. Still looking for original reference I thought I saw. I have seen earlier predictions consistent with everyone’s hopes here.

Edit_Update: Apologies if someone has already published a link to the following PDF elsewhere on the forum but it’s a March, 2020, BT SIG Update to Bluetooth’s plans to take over the world! It shows the predicted and tremendous growth of BT (they hope) in virtually every segment of the economy, including BT Smart Cities! I hope that Phonak will take note (as a potential future Phonak customer vs. ReSound, Widex, Signia, etc) that the predictions show production of BT Classic only devices continuing to seriously decline and predicts that devices that are BT LE only or BT LE plus Classic will be the future market (see page 10 of PDF if included page ref in link doesn’t work). Doesn’t detail how BT LE Audio figures within the BT LE but since BT 5.2 is the latest version of the spec, it’s probably going to be that or higher that’s “BT LE” going forward.

35% of annual shipments by 2024
will be LE single-mode devices


Edit_Update: Potentially the “35% of devices shipped by 2024 BT LE only” - hard to interpret but perhaps it means by 2024 a Phonak Classic BT-only approach won’t work with a lot of devices shipped. Perhaps if the 35% of devices shipped are all other brand HA’s, it won’t matter so much …

1 Like

When the LC3 codec comes to hearing aids, smartphones, TVs, computers, usb dongles, etc.
So there will be no need for streamers like tv connector, tv link etc. This is great for us who wear hearing aids, and for a hearing aid vendor I don’t think so, they make money selling these accessories so I don’t believe selling devices with LC3 will be that way almost because their sales of these supplements would decline.
That is my conclusion, when I bought the Phonak Naida Q50, and bought with it Compilot1 which was current at the time. The shock was that I couldn’t buy a newer Compilot, say Compilot 2 or Compilot Air (no neck). Each series of apparatus had its own compilot. I then wondered, why can’t Compilot be universal?
My compilot broke down over time so I was forced to buy another one and the other one is no longer on sale so I bought on ebay the remaining copy that someone is selling as a surplus that didn’t sell.

1 Like

Phones will ship with dual Bluetooth radios for many years I think. What will eventually kill Classic BT in hearing aids is not the lack of devices to connect to, but the availability of a better alternative. I wish they’d thought of better labels to differentiate BLE from LE Audio. There’s so much confusion out there.

Any hearing aid manufacturer that tries to lock in accessories with a proprietary connection will be last on the list I consider when I buy my next set of aids.

From the various videos I’ve seen, their thinking is that LE Audio will align hearing aids with hearables. This is supposed to remove the stigma factor and they hope to sell a whole lot more product to people who should be wearing aids but currently aren’t. That should more than make up for loss of profit from selling proprietary accessories.


“LE Audio’s most impactful feature is bringing audio and data together natively in one radio for the first time in an interoperable manner.”


This is an interesting video to me where the person explained the operation of the new codec.

1 Like

There’s a review of Resound ONE hearing aids claiming ‘forward compatibility’ with LE Audio.


“Low Energy Audio and the Future of ASHA”. A bit of history and some speculation. Well-worth reading if you’re interested in Bluetooth and hearing aids.


Thanks. Pretty good, in-depth and honest review (given the limitations of “honest” reviews). Too bad that the ReSound One M&RIE receiver is limited with folks with losses up to about 65 dB. Since I’m waiting for several years for new HA’s, maybe the ReSound TWO will somehow overcome that limitation. But good to hear that ReSound is all in on BT LE Audio and leading the pack (unlike Mr. Phonak) on BT technologies for the future.

I’d still want to get some confirmation from the manufacturer if forward compatibility with LE Audio was important to me. Maybe there has been and I’ve missed it…?

1 Like

The line in his review “Their compatibility with Bluetooth LE Audio also means that when it arrives, I will have access to those fantastic abilities.” I don’t think he’d have that line in paragraph one of his review, the lead paragraph, unless he was very sure (presumably through ReSound) that it was coming for the One’s. I’ll see what else I can dig up elsewhere. If Cooling’s wrong, he’s really putting his reputation on the line… Like for any folks who rush out and buy if from his semi-glowing review.

I’ve asked him for some elaboration on Facebook. I’ll report back if he responds.

1 Like

I notice that Dr Cliff has posted a review of the Resound ONE and has included a link to a previous video he did on LE Audio. Pity I haven’t got audio on my computer at the moment, but putting 2 and 2 together…?

Resound ONE video review: ReSound ONE Hearing Aid Detailed Review - YouTube
LE Audio Bluetooth Video: https://youtu.be/nDCsif0nhEY

Edit: He does say that Resound ONE will be compatible with LE Audio @ 10:57 in the review. But then he says that you’ll be able to talk into the phone or use a pendant. One of the big advantages of LE Audio is being completely hands-free, so…? Also, going back to the review I posted earlier Geoffrey Cooling says you ‘might’ be able to go handsfree. Clarification would be good.

Still, HUGE news imo. The first hearing aid with LE Audio.

1 Like

As you know @d_Wooluf, Resound One are certified for Bluetooth 5.2:

That means that the chip itself is compatible with the upcoming LE Audio features but will propably need firmware updates to enable things like LC3 audio and Audio sharing (that’s me speculating).

So while the LE Audio specs is not finalized, the chip itself should be able to do things like Audio sharing and LC3 audio, with software upgrades.

Edit: And since the LE Audio specs is not yet finalized, I believe it’s hard for the HA companies to announce support for it. Even older hearing aids could be compatible with Bluetooth LE Audio, for example the connection between e.g. ConnectClip and Oticon hearing aid could be very similiar to Bluetooth LE Audio and thus make it possible to have something like a Bluetooth 5.2 USB dongle on your computer connecting directly to the hearing aids without ConnectClip etc.

I put this question to Geoffrey Cooling:
Just wondering how confident you are about ‘forward compatibility’ with LE Audio.

His response:
as confident as I can be, they have the compatibility, what they do with it?

which makes me think that maybe he’s assuming LE Audio from the existence of the BT 5.2 certified chip in the hearing aid. I agree with @Spindel that this seems at least likely, but I’m not sure that it’s a done deal. I still wouldn’t buy the aid and just assume it’s going to be updated. I asked Geoffrey Cooling a follow up question. We’ll see.