Amazon has announced an expansion of its accessibility features for Fire TV. As part of this, the Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen) now supports Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA).
Why is this important? Well, normally to stream TV audio to hearing aids, you need additional hardware. Not every TV supports Bluetooth, so hard-of-hearing users have to either use their smartphone or adapters.
Building the functionality right into the streaming box that you’re already using reduces complexity, making it easier to use.
ASHA is an open-source standard developed by Google, GN Hearing, and Cochlear. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to enable hearing aids to connect to Android devices running Android 10 and later.
Amazon says that Starkey Bluetooth hearing aids are compatible currently. Those can connect directly to Fire TV Cube for private listening, while the remote can control volume levels. To connect, head to Fire TV Settings > Accessibility > Hearing Aids then follow the on-screen instructions.
Optimal sound streaming can be found by using 5Ghz Wi-Fi, and staying within 10 feet of your Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen). Keeping line-of-sight will also help, according to Amazon.
Those using 2.4Ghz networks can also use the feature, although the effective range will be varied depending on how many other 2.4Ghz networks are in your area.
Amazon says that it will expand ASHA support to more devices later this year. You can find more about accessibility at amazon.com/accessibility.
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