Bluetooth’s new Auracast system is exciting and provides many potential benefits for people with hearing loss.
- One technology would work everywhere and with all brands of hearing devices.
- It would eliminate the hassle of picking up listening devices at venues
- Since Auracast works for all consumer devices, more venues would be incentivized to have it and to keep it working reliably and well
- More widespread use of hearing devices would help lower stigma.
But many of these benefits are years away. In this article for HHTM, I share the reasons why for now, people with hearing loss need both Bluetooth and T-coils. Let’s hope the industry is taking note.
An excerpt from the article is below. Read the full post at FindHearing on HHTM.
Exciting New Bluetooth Technology on the Horizon: Auracast
We all dream of the day when we can walk into any venue, public space, or theater and connect our hearing devices seamlessly to the sound system. No need to pick up listening devices with neckloops, extra streamers or delayed audio. No hassle. Only clear sound transmitted directly to our existing technology. Auracast believes this day is coming—not just for people with hearing devices—but for the mainstream.
When better hearing access is available for all, we, the people with hearing loss will benefit the most, because we need hearing access the most. And because the technology will be the same for wireless consumer earbuds as well as hearing devices for people with hearing loss, there is the potential to lower stigma.
When finally demanded by all, accessibility will be built into the mainstream plan. I can’t wait!
What is Auracast?
Auracast is a new Bluetooth technology that allows users to tap into any Auracast-equipped sound system for better hearing. The receiving device does not matter. It will work with Auracast-equipped hearing aids, cochlear implants, and everyday wireless headphones. When fully rolled out, it could be used for customized sound at a movie theater, a lecture hall or even to share the song you are enjoying with a friend.
I had a chance to try it out at the International Federation of Hard of Hearing People (IFHOH) 2022 World Congress, and it was encouraging. The latency (the delay between when the sound is picked up by the microphone and the processed signal is played back) is far superior to standard Bluetooth. This increased speech could help turn many everyday listening devices (including our smartphones) into hearing enhancers.
For Now, T-Coils Remain A Required Feature
Over time, as Bluetooth shifts to its new Auracast version, we may no longer need both Bluetooth and T-coil. Progress like this is wonderful—the more hearing technology goes mainstream, the better it will be for people with hearing loss—but in the eagerness to move forward, let’s make sure nobody is left behind. The industry must continue to support both technologies during the transition period—which may last 5 to 10 years
For more information continue reading on HHTM.
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14 thoughts on “People with Hearing Loss Need Both Bluetooth and T-Coils”
Sad that it will take years for Auracast to become a reality
It is but change may come faster. Fingers crossed. Thanks for your comment.
Another informative article. Thanks Shari!
Thanks for your comment!
You’ve made excellent points and I agree with you completely. While I love the Bluetooth feature on my hearing aids I know it is currently limited to certain applications. I look forward to the day when it allows us better access to “everything”.
Me too! Let’s hope the rollout and uptake will be faster than expected. Thanks for your comment.
Thanks for your article, Shari. This issue is very important. I’ve been following loops and Bluetooth carefully and am a loop advocate in Northeast Ohio. It’s good to be clear that Auracast may take years. I do not have Bluetooth in my hearing aids, so I’m going to have to “save up” anyway. Also, a friend told me that the ADA says that one should not have to “bring” anything to a venue in order to hear with the venue’s listening devices. Since the Bluetooth Auracast requires a smartphone with Bluetooth, that law would have to be changed.
The ADA is not perfect and is not always enforced, as you know. In any event, I believe taking charge of what we need is our responsibility as well (at least in part). Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I have yet to use Bluetooth in any way. Have T-coil in both HAs and use whenever possible. I’m about to get a new cell phone – 2022 Apple SE – to replace my generations older one. Would I be making a big mistake (regarding its Bluetooth capability)? Thanks for any suggestions
Bluetooth is a critical feature for smartphones in general as well as for people with hearing loss. With Bluetooth in both you can stream phone calls and other media directly to your aids. I would recommend making sure the phone has Bluetooth capabilities before buying it. Thanks for your question.
Thanks for the article Shari. However, I do hope the new technology comes sooner rather than later.
Yes, me too! Thanks for your comment.