Enabling a More Connected Hearing Solution
By Marc Pegulu, Vice President, Wireless and Sensing Product Group at Semtech
According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, more than 48 million people in the United States [Source] are affected by hearing loss. Hearing aids amplify sounds for these individuals allowing them to better listen, communicate and participate in daily activities. Semtech has partnered with one of the world’s leader in innovative hearing care solutions, Sonova, to develop an advanced radio system for which these devices can operate. This partnership has brought together years of knowledge and expertise around the wireless Internet of Things (IoT) and hearing solutions, resulting in an impressively complex communication chip with the potential to usher in a new level of convenience and sound for its users.
In today’s world with smartphones and voice-enabled IoT applications, the need for a smarter, connected hearing solution has been a long time coming. Focusing on a low power digital design, both teams worked to develop this highly advanced chip solution. The ultra-small, low power wireless radio frequency integrated circuit (IC) leveraging LoRa® modulation, enables support for multiple radio protocols in the 2.4GHz band. This paves the way for the next generation of audio devices with the ability to support applications that previously were not possible. One significant application is the potential to connect users to any BluetoothⓇ- enabled device including smartphones, televisions, even smart home devices such as doorbells and digital assistants. Additionally, these devices also have audio streaming abilities between hearing aids and connectivity to wireless microphones.
A few key features with these new hearing devices include:
- Low Power Wireless Radio: The low power wireless radio will ultimately increase the end products lifespan, but also the amount of time a user can wear the device before it will need to be charged.
- Bluetooth Connectivity: The capability to connect via Bluetooth opens up the possibility to use these hearing solutions directly with a smartphone and other ear-to-ear communications.
Semtech strives to benefit the engineering and global community cultivating creativity through collaboration and innovation. The company’s mission is to continue the production of life-changing technologies as its works with Sonova — ultimately helping to create a more connected world.