LE Audio and the Future of Hearing

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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No, I don’t. There are three new features that are added to what was there before. What was optional before is still optional, I guess. My understanding is that BT 5.2 is both necessary and sufficient for LE Audio but that’s just from reading the non-technical stuff that I’ve been linking to here.

One of the new features is power control. Power can be adjusted dynamically according to range, which leads me to believe that for a device to be 5.2-compliant, extended range is no longer optional. Good question!


Ok, but https://www.bluetooth.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Bluetooth_5.2_Feature_Overview.pdf implies that power control is mandatory. My guess is that isochronous channels might be the only part of 5.2 that is absolutely required by LE Audio. LC3 should scale itself to the available range and throughput. Pure conjecture though.

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One of things that was optional with BT 5 was “extended advertising” I looked briefly at the 5.2 specs and can’t really sort out if it’s still optional or not and if it would make any difference to LE audio.

It might be one of those things that’s theoretically optional but in practice any two devices using 5.2 would use. You’d think that LE Audio- more than anything else- would really require extended advertising. Again, just conjecture.

That’s kind of my thought too regarding extended advertising, but my conception of what it really is is pretty marginal.

as is mine. I sometimes ask myself what I’m doing talking about Bluetooth on a board that seems to be filled with retired electrical engineers. Bluetooth SIG makes things difficult in their naming. Seems you can have a product that does what Bluetooth 4.2 did and no more and still call it Bluetooth 5. Bottom line for us consumers I think is if our phone and our aid both claim LE Audio capability, accept it provisionally but still do our research on functionality. So… hands free? Check. Broadcast audio? Check… and on through the list.

As per the discussion on the Oticon ONE, you’d ideally want to wait for the second generation of hearing aids with LE Audio if you’ve got the luxury of waiting. Or at least wait for the reviews of gen 1. Too many possible caveats with “will support LE Audio” on a media release.


Are you aware of any forums that get into the details of this stuff? Looking at Qualcomm Snapdragon Chipsets, it looks like the 768G, 865+ and the new 888 support Bluetooth 5.2

However supposedly only the FastConnect 6700 and 6900 modems support Bluetooth 5.2 and the 768G supposedly uses the FastConnect 6200 (as does the 690 and 750) I’m guessing the next gen 77? series will use FastConnect 6700.

Basically wondering where a good place to ask for clarification about this might be. Quora is interesting but generates a lot of nonsense answers.

Not sure if this was coherent, but it motivated me message Qualcomm with more definite questions.

Not realy. My main source of information about this stuff is you…

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Love it! Two totally non experts who love this stuff! :slight_smile:

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Enjoying reading this thread.
Trying to tie things together.
Example, my Cochlear Nucleus 7 processor is Android 10 compatible and IOS compatible for streaming.

Where does LE Audio and Bluetooth 5? come into this?

In the future. :slight_smile: ASHA is kind of like the Android version of Made for iPhone.
LE Audio will be a universal (hopefully) standard that Android or IOS or Windows could use. It will require BT 5.2 LE audio also has the potential to be used in performance venues if I’m understanding correctly.

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LE Audio will have more functionality than ASHA and mfi and it will be more mainstream. So eventually your young hipster family and friends (who may hear like bats) will also use it.

One example of possible new functionality is if your have a cochlear implant and wear a hearing aid. I’m assuming that right now you can’t stream audio to both ears simultaneously? LE Audio will have multiple independent streams. You could stream the left channel to your implanted ear and the right channel to your hearing aid. Don’t hold me to that, but I don’t see why not. In fact, you could do that AND stream the same audio to a pair of Bluetooth speakers so other people in the room can listen in AND stream the same audio to anyone in the room who happened to have their LE Audio equipped ear buds with them.

I don’t know if your unit will be upgraded to LE Audio. That’s something to ask Cochlear when the time comes.


Ok, I found this hot off the press:

Key points:

In commercial production
One usage case (amongst others) is ‘advanced wearables’
Supports Bluetooth 5.2

“In addition, the SoC has been designed to meet the requirements of LE Audio, enabling audio streaming over Bluetooth Low Energy. LE Audio supports multi-stream synchronized audio for applications such as earbuds, and Audio Sharing, whereby a single audio source can be broadcast to multiple recipients. With an LE Audio- enabled software stack, the nRF5340’s radio can support Isochronous Channels, the Bluetooth 5.2 feature required by LE Audio for streaming. LE Audio also introduces the Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3), a high-quality, low-power audio compression codec that can run efficiently on the nRF5340. The audio data can be transferred to other parts of the system (for example, AD/DA converters, speakers, and microphones) using the I2S and PDM audio interfaces, which employ the nRF5340’s low-jitter audio PLL clock source.”

Interesting that they say “in addition” when we were wondering whether Bluetooth 5.2 was sufficient in itself for supporting LE Audio.

When they say “with an LE Audio- enabled software stack” I’m guessing that they mean is “with the addition of”.

Anyway what we seem to have here is a hardware platform that is in production and can be used to develop advanced hearables including ones supporting LE audio when updated with a LE audio software stack. Just a sign that things are moving forward.


“Another exciting capability built in to the new QCC305x SoCs is support for the upcoming [Bluetooth LE Audio]”

It’s a SoC intended for use in developing earbuds. Qualcomm of course also makes chips designed for use in mobile phones. So, we can see things starting to come together. Still waiting on the LE Audio specifications to be published however