The Amazon Fire TV Cube can now stream audio direct to hearing aids. It's the first streaming device to gain the feature, but more Amazon Fire devices will follow later this year.
Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) will only work with compatible hearing aids made by Starkey. Wearers can stream audio direct to their hearing aids for private listening.
It works with all kinds of content available through Fire TV Cube, including streaming services, apps, games and the Alexa voice assistant.
You pair your hearing aids as you would Bluetooth headphones. Head to Fire TV Settings > Accessibility > Hearing Aids to get them set up. You control volume using the Fire TV remote, and disconnect them by holding down the Home button and selecting 'Disconnect Hearing Aids.'
Because of their small size, the radio antennae inside hearing aids need to be situated closer to the source device to get the best connection. Amazon recommends connecting over a 5Ghz wi-fi network, within 10 feet and with line of sight to the Fire TV Cube. It will still work over a 2.4Ghz wi-fi network, but the range might be reduced depending on how busy the network is (i.e. how many other devices are connected and how much bandwidth they're using).
Starkey says the feature will help the hearing impaired feel more connected.
"At Starkey, we are transforming hearing aids into multifunctional devices; enabling our patients to connect and communicate with the world via our technology," said Achin Bhowmik, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Engineering at Starkey. "Through this strategic collaboration with Amazon, we are paving the way for cutting-edge products to connect with and stream audio to our state-of-the-art hearing devices."
As well as bringing ASHA to more Fire TV devices, Amazon will add more functionality over time.
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