Made For Apple Cochlear Implants: The Dominos Are Falling…

The Bluetooth 4.0 dominos are falling: Following up on our Apple Hearing Aid? Not So Fast…  post on Friday 14 September, we have this post from the Official ReSound Blog: Cochlear Adopts GN ReSound’s 2.4 GHz Wireless Technology

Cochlear Pty… has entered into a Technology Development and License agreement with GN ReSound to leverage [their] 2.4 GHz wireless technology.

Cochlear offers implants and bone anchored hearing technologies for hearing impaired individuals who are unable to use ordinary hearing devices. The adoption of GN ReSound’s wireless technology by Cochlear reinforces the superiority of 2.4 GHz as a wireless platform.

One of the benefits of 2.4 GHz technology is that it enables the end-user to receive streamed sound directly without wearing an intermediary device around the neck. We know that eliminating body worn streamers and being as discreet as possible are priorities for hearing aid users. Currently, GN ReSound is the only hearing aid manufacturer to use 2.4 GHz wireless technology in our hearing aids.

This serves as a confirmation that the low latency wireless technology ReSound has implemented (via field programmable gate array (FPGA) architecture) in their excellent Alera and brand new Verso lines of hearing aids is, in fact very close to the final implementation of the “Made for Apple” hearing aids. However, neither the Alera nor Verso will be able to communicate directly with the iPhone 4s or 5 — That is the next model series.

Those of you with Advanced Bionics CI’s are also in line to get Bluetooth — In fact, you almost had it, as when the Harmony BTE speech processor came out in 2005, it already had the hardware hooks in the circuit, using the headpiece coil as an antenna. All it would have taken was adding the  Broadcom Bluetooth chip, and it would have been there seven years ago.

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About the author

Dan Schwartz

Electrical Engineer, via Georgia Tech

7 Comments

  1. Audiology_Slave
    September 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I read your article “Apple Hearing Aid? Not So Fast…” regarding Resound’s VERSO will be able to communicate directly from hearing aid to iphone5 without streamers. I am a bit confused with this statement: “However, neither the Alera nor Verso will be able to communicate directly with the iPhone 4s or 5 — That is the next model series.”

    What’s the final verdict then, will the Resound Verso able to stream directly to the iphone5 without any streamers using 2.4GHz or will it still use a streamer? Thanks!


    • Dan Schwartz
      September 20, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Ler, although the new GN ReSound Verso uses 2.4 gHz wireless for inter-ear communication & binaural coordination of compression & mic steering, in fact it still uses the same Unite wireless accessories (Mini Mic, Remote, TV Streamer, Phone Clip, and Airlink USB programmer): In other words it will .NOT. support direct communications from the iPhone 4s/5 via iOS 6: According to my conversation on Tuesday with a colleague at their Chicago facility, that functionality will be in the generation after the Verso.


  2. Doug
    October 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Dan,
    Thanks for providing this useful information regarding iPhone integration. I’m grappling with the decision to buy my first hearing aids now or waiting for the next generation Resound device which you believe will support direct communication with the iPhone 4s/5. I know you can’t accurately predict product release timing but could you speculate on the minimum amount of time it will take before a next gen Resound device can be released? I’m also due for a phone upgrade and am wondering if a WinPhone8 or Android device supporting NFC might be a better choice based on the chances a hearing aid might integrate with that platform prior to an Apple integrated solution. Thanks for any input you can provide.


    • Dan Schwartz
      November 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      Doug, it’s not going to be NFC: It’ll be the low power extensions to Bluetooth 4.0. Look for them to start coming out in Europe & Canada in the springtime; however we don’t know how the FDA’s medical device branch is going to be, as they gave Widex all sorts of crap last year on their Clear line, delaying the streamer by over six months.
      How severe is your hearing loss, and what hearing aids do you wear today?


  3. CE
    November 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    HI everyone,

    GN communication with MFI apps for iPhone will be released in the springtime. At the EUHA at Frankfort Gn made a demo with Hearing Aids connected in 2,4Ghz to an iPhone to stream music.
    So they wont use bluetooth: too much latency (60ms for Siemens/Phonak VS 14ms for GN), too much compression when streaming audio (poor signal quality) and too much consumption (even if the last gen of bluetooh is better).
    Still, the 2,4Ghz is driving very fast the batteries, hopefully that gn will upgrade the autonomy with the next generation for iPhone.
    They say that today, they have 10% free consumption with the binaural coordination series but it’s still 6days and less with Resound unite accessories.
    I think it’s a matter of batteries industries too: if Rayovac and PowerOne made batteries with a better autonomy it would be easier… but the good patents are in a safe place! more used batteries, more sold!


  4. michael
    December 4, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    So as of November 14, 2012, there is no iphone connectivity available for Resound Verso. We are now into December, is anything due 5vzfon line soon. I am about to purchase my first pair of hearing aids and would appreciate all the in put I can get as to the best direction to go.


    • Dan Schwartz
      December 5, 2012 at 8:59 am

      @Michael: Yes, there is iPhone connectivity for both the Verso and older (but still very good) Alera, using the Phone Clip: Most of the functionality of the “Made for iPhone” hearing aids is already here with their streamer, Mini Mic (“spouse mic”) and remote control. Although the 2.4 gHz technology is similar — In fact GN ReSound licensed it to Cochlear for their CI’s & BAHA — the Verso will almost certainly (as far as I know) never directly connect to the iPhone 5.

      [I say almost certainly, as there is the potential for their engineers to write their own 802.15.6 stack that would communicate with the Alera & Verso using the Bluetooth chip (much as PC's from a decade ago would communicate AppleTalk or NetBEUI over ethernet); but then it would have to be approved by Apple; because even though they both have a unix core, unlike the open Android platform Cupertino keeps a tight leash on their product.]

      [There is also the possibility that given the flexibility of the NT platform, an Alera &/or Verso could be added to the Windows NT 8 ("Windows 8") hardware abstraction layer, with the added bonus of their Aventa fitting software (or a neutered version for end users) being ported to it with just a simple recompile taking seconds, as the NT platform had portability across multiple CPU architectures since Dave Cutler started on it in late 1988.]


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