Amazon and Cochlear have teamed up on a new feature that streams audio directly from Fire TV devices to hearing implants, using the Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) protocol. It’s the first time a smart TV device can stream sound directly to a hearing implant processor.
Cochlear says television was the company’s natural next step after working on streaming audio from smartphones to hearing aids. “TV is a big part of our lives,” said Ryan Lopez, a product management and marketing director at Cochlear. “We get our news and information through television, our entertainment, sports, music. When we started to work with [Amazon], what really came to light was their dedication to accessibility, effective communication, and collaborating on how we can combine these technologies. At Cochlear, we were really proud to be a part of this.”
The feature will work with the Cochlear Nucleus 8, Nucleus 7, Nucleus Kanso 2 and Baha 6 Max sound processors. You’ll also need a Fire TV Omni QLED Series, Fire TV Omni Series, Fire TV 4-Series, Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen) or Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen).
“When we talked to audiologists and customers who used hearing aids, and other experts in the field, the majority told us that the first thing you really want if you’ve got hearing loss is to be able to hear clearly the people around you,” said Peter Korn, director of accessibility for Amazon Devices. “The second thing you want is the ability to hear the television, to enjoy entertainment.”