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back to article iCan't quite hear you: Apple teams up with Danish firm to make hearing aids

Apple is working with a hearing aid manufacturer to produce a device using technology similar to that used in the much-derided bluetooth headset. The new kit will allow the hard-of-hearing to stream voice and music directly into the ear. According to a report from Reuters, the fruity firm is working with GN Store Nord, the world …

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xyz

iEar, iEye, iLol

This is like being seduced by an accountant. Much as iLoathed SJ, at least he was a showman.

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Is it in stereo?

At last, an excuse to listen to music all day instead of the boring office chatter. I think i shall get deaf about the time this comes out.

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LiNX?!

LiNX?! Are they taking the piss?

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Fruity firm wants first shot at hard-of-hearing fanboi segment

They should stick to the hard-of-thinking

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Wearable tech?

Wearable [connected] consumer tech is still in its infancy, but our ageing population may result in more people wearing smart devices - even if they do look a bit clunky.

Watches that measure blood pressure and heart rate, and then communicate this data to a mobile phone, either to log it or to make it available to a district nurse or GP, would be an obvious example. Adding a Distress Call function to the watch would be suitable for some users.

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FAIL

Does jasper actually understand tech at all?

"Both Apple's products and most hearing aids use a 2.4 GHz signal, which could make any linkup with Bluetooth much easier."

That's kind of like saying both vans and bicycles run on roads, so it should be easy to make a bike that can carry furniture. About the only thing they're likely to have in common at the moment is the aerial, and I wouldn't count on that. You'd need a completely new bluetooth or WiFi radio in order for the two to work with each other, and I'm more inclined to the idea that Apple would be using AirPlay which would imply Wifi.

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Re: Does jasper actually understand tech at all?

>You'd need a completely new bluetooth or WiFi radio in order for the two to work with each other, and I'm more inclined to the idea that Apple would be using AirPlay which would imply Wifi.

I would imagine they would start with whichever approach uses the lowest amount of power (the hearing aid being the limiting element), and start from there. At the moment, that would appear to be Bluetooth Low Energy, though there may be some new exotic WiFi standard I'm unaware of.

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Re: Does jasper actually understand tech at all?

Purely from a power point of view bluetooth wins. It would need work from both ends to make audio stream over LE, and the data rate may be a bit of an issue (peak is 270k bits/sec over a 1M bit channel). I'm still trying to work out if device paring or advertised services would be the easiest option for users.

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Re: Does jasper actually understand tech at all?

Looking at a rather better report over at Apple insider it seems that it is indeed Bluetooth LE that is driving this.

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Re: Does jasper actually understand tech at all?

Why would 270kb/sec be an issue? You do realize that's quite a bit higher than the bit rate most MP3s use, right?

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Re: Does jasper actually understand tech at all?

Uncompressed audio is about 1.4Mb/sec. Compressing it first makes digital filtering less effective, and you need a sustained data rate, including error correction to handle glitches and dropouts.

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At bloody last!

Digital hearing aid wearers have been waiting for this for ages. At the moment they have to go to the hospital to have the hearing aid adjusted or tweaked which is done by physically plugging it into a computer. A process that involves wasting a lot of time because the NHS keep rotating in nurses with little experience who just follow the handbook and seem incapable of getting the settings right, necessitating several time wasting visits to the hospital. They get mortally offended when the users suggest giving them the equipment and software so that they can go home and do it!

Getting a smart phone to interact with the hearing aid is a no brainer, not only for tweaking settings but also to let the phone pipe the audio directly into the aid, and it is frustrating the manufacturers have taken so long to even think about it. I think Apply will have to up their game for making the two different technologies work though. Modern aids can last up to 2 weeks on one battery because they are amazingly power efficient. Adding more wireless tech will probably drop that somewhat if they are not careful.

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Anonymous Coward

How to build your own market:: - first deafen them then sell them hearing aids

Smart move - first they get all the kids to make themselves deaf and then they sell them hearing aids.

Come to think of it maybe Google glasses are the same idea - encourage the kids to go blind by sitting too long behind a laptop screen / too small a phone display / searching for porn (select which applies) then sell them some glasses.

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I'd be quite happy if Apple produced a mobile phone which wouldn't need a freaking hearing aid to understand the counterpart. (Disclaimer: I have an iPhone 4, later ones might be better.) Seriously, the Nokia 6210 from year 2000 has a better sound quality.

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Marg'ret!!!

A "noise cancelling hearing aid".

So.... a hearing aid that ...errr ...cancels out noise? That's be the "noise" that you're trying to hear, yes???

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Stop

Re: Marg'ret!!!

No, noise cancelling is about removing the sounds that you DON'T want to hear from the ones that you do. Try NC headphones while flying sometime and you'll grok why it's a good idea.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Marg'ret!!!

Yep; sound that isn't noise is 'signal'.

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Re: Marg'ret!!!

An example of Noise Cancelling would be for example cutting out wind when you are outside. Otherwise you end up with that sound like someone blowing into a microphone pretty constantly. That wind noise stops you hearing the person trying to talk to you or pretty much anything else!

Unfortunately NC when activated also seems to stop most sounds from more than 2 meters away or anything quiet or high pitched. It is a bit of a bugger in busy traffic and any other noisy environment when you need to have situational awareness. I don't know if very high end machines have solved this. Sensible hearing aid users turn it off and if they want to cancel noise they do it manually or wear a woolly hat to get rid of that wind effect.

The benefit of a smart phone controlled hearing aid would be that you could set profiles. For example one profile for outside with NC on, another profile for a quiet indoor environment with noise gain turned up high. Thus adapt your settings to your environment rather than letting the NHS set the environmental parameters for you (often badly!) as with the current set of machines.

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Childcatcher

So

a little like the FM/digital systems used for children with hearing impairment in schools? Like ROGER?

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Battery change

"The new gadget can apparently run for several days without battery changes, often a serious irritant for hearing aid wearers."

Steve Jobs will be spinning in his grave if Apple were to produce a device where the end user could change batteries.

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"Sorry, your iHearingAid device cannot go above level "5" volume, lest it cause hearing loss"

Oops, too late.

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Trollface

Dammit!

My ears have rounded corners. Guess I'm gonna be sued for violating a patent.

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