Bluetooth LE, True Wireless, and the Coming OTC Shake Up

The biggest news coming out of CES is the new Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3) and LE Audio's support for hearing assisted devices.

This article is Authorized by the In-Ear Monitor International Trade Organziation

The In-Ear Monitor International Trade Organization publishes unbiased educational articles about the use and benefits of in-ear monitors.

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January 31, 2020

The convergence is coming. And the technological developments made within the in-ear space are more relevant now than ever. As the lines blur between the boundaries of IEMs, True Wireless headsets, and Over The Counter hearing devices, the new standard enables the next generation of products to meet consumer expectations.

Before we dive into the details, let's all take a moment to pay respects to the pioneers that brought us here. Bragi and Doppler Labs painted the dream of what's possible and sold the promise to consumers to whet our collective appetites. They pushed boundaries and they proved concept. Yes, they were too early and the protocols weren't ready but that's what it means to be a trailblazer.

The future is here, now.

LC3 provides high quality  even at low data rates — bringing tremendous flexibility to developers — allowing them to make better design tradeoffs between key product attributes such as audio quality and power consumption.

Extensive listening tests have shown that LC3 will provide improvements in audio quality over the SBC codec included with Classic Audio, even at a 50% lower bit rate. Developers will be able to leverage this power savings to create products that can provide longer battery life or, in cases where current battery life is enough, reduce the form factor by using a smaller battery." Manfred Lutzky —Head of Audio for Communications at Fraunhofer IIS


Building on its low power, high quality and multi-stream capabilities, LE Audio adds support for Hearing Aids. Bluetooth audio has brought significant benefits to a large percentage of the global population. Wireless calling, listening, and watching have made people safer, more productive, and more entertained. LE Audio will enable the development of Bluetooth hearing aids that bring all the benefits of Bluetooth audio to the growing number of people with hearing loss.

LE Audio will be one of the most significant advances for users of hearing aids and hearing implants. EHIMA engineers have contributed their specialist knowledge to improve the audio experience especially for hard of hearing people. As a result, within a few years most new phones and TVs will be equally accessible to users with hearing loss." Stefan Zimmer —Secretary General of EHIMA, European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association

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