LE Audio and the Future of Hearing

Competition is nice. My plan is to see what several different brands offer in BT LE Audio down the line and not get too enthusiastic about any brand like ReSound just because it might be first in line. If as you say, a true, full implementation can offer handsfree communication (decent input from external mics), that would be a selling point for me over brands that require you to use your phone or a remote mic for voice input (perhaps because their external mic situation isn’t good enough for voice input - an app switch between external mics vs. phone or remote mic input would be nice, too, to use according to the noise or other environmental situation).

Fully agree. It’s just a ‘first swallow of the summer’ situation (choose your own local bird). See the first one and you know more are on the way.

I’d expect easy switching between phone mic, external/remote mic, and hearing aid mics. Re hearing aid mics, if Phonak can do it, everyone else can.

Even if a hearing aid comes with a new LC3 codec but you still have to wait for the smarpthone and other devices that support 5.2 to arrive. And that takes time, at least a year.

It is better to wait because the prices of the same can fall, the usb dongle for bluetooth 5.2 can be expensive.

I would agree that there’s no benefit in rushing. In comparison, BT 5 came out in 2016. I believe Samsung S8 was one of the first phones to come out with it in Spring 2017. I bought a Nokia 6.1 in Summer of 2018. One of the reasons was BT 5. It’s now 2020 and there’s no advantage to having BT 5 with regards to hearing aid use. (If the phone also supported ASHA, a case can be made for BT 5)
I think 1st QTR 2021 is likely the earliest we’re going to see BT 5.2 phones that support LC3 Codec.


So a major manufacturer of SoC’s expects the standard to be ratified this year. From LE Audio: The latest Bluetooth Audio Technology | Qualcomm

Q: When is LE Audio coming to Qualcomm Technologies’ Platforms/SoCs?

A: The Bluetooth SIG has already announced the new standard. However, the profiles still need to be ratified; that is expected to happen late 2020.
Qualcomm Technologies intends to qualify compliant silicon and software as soon as the SIG has finalized the standard.


Qualcomm Technologies has just announced to team up with Jacoti an audio technology company, seems this is moving pretty quickly now, but still looking at 2nd quarter of 2021.
They say " The integration will result in next-gen TWS earphones and Bluetooth headsets that provide accurate personalized hearing assistance to users with mild hearing impairments using Qualcomm QCC5100 Series Ultra-Low Power Bluetooth SoCs
QCC5100 supports data transfers up to 2Mbps and a Bluetooth 5 dual-mode radio that lets you stream audio to multiple devices at once.

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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 …