Listen Technologies & Ampetronic Announce Auracast-Based Assistive-Listening Solution

Published: February 1, 2024
Logos courtesy of Listen Technologies.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on Dec. 20 and has since been updated as of Feb. 2, 2024.

Listen Technologies Corporation, provider of advanced wireless listening solutions, and Ampetronic, provider of audio-induction loop systems, announced the development of the first complete installed assistive listening system utilizing Auracast broadcast audio technology. Per a statement, this will be the first new product from the two companies since announcing their partnership and creation of a single source for innovative and accessible audio solutions.

According to Listen Technologies, Auracast is a new standard for Bluetooth Low Energy audio. It can thus broadcast audio to unlimited numbers of receivers and hearing aids simultaneously without always needing to pair to a transmitter first. This enables use of Bluetooth as a wide-area assistive-listening technology. According to a statement, Auracast will also be available in many new hearing aids, earbuds and headphones in the future.

Additionally, Ampetronic and Listen Technologies are Auracast collaboration partners in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). Here, they contribute to standards development and interoperability testing. Ampetronic and Listen Technologies have also collaborated with leading hearing aid manufacturers, microphone manufacturers, and audio infrastructure companies. Together, they aim to deliver a robust and reliable technology platform for installation in public environments.

Listen Technologies Auri broadcast audio system

AURI, powered by Listen Technologies and Ampetronic, is the first Auracast broadcast audio-based solution for assistive listening. Courtesy / Listen Technologies

The new solution includes networked installation transmitters for multi-channel broadcast for any size space, says Listen Technologies. It also comes with the option for open or secure transmission. The solution will include dedicated receivers and charging bases. Most venues will use the dedicated receivers so end users without Auracast certified devices can access the audio and fulfill local accessibility requirements. A complete line of accessories will also be available, says the company. This includes headphones, neck loops, and network management and configuration software.

Significance of Audio Accessibility

The World Health Organization projects 2.5 billion people are expected to have some degree of hearing loss by 2050, says Listen Technologies. Situational hearing loss or the inability to hear clearly in a space can impact anyone. Auracast thus helps overcome the challenges of traditional assistive-listening systems. Furthermore, it increases access to clear audio for anyone with Auracast enabled earbuds or hearing aids.

Per a statement, Listen Technologies and Ampetronic have more than 60 years of combined experience helping people hear better with innovative technologies and solutions. They are also part of Allvida, a rapidly growing group of companies offering products and solutions for accessibility. They recently partnered to expand their respective portfolios of assistive listening solutions with complementary technologies and systems to market.

“Our project with Listen Technologies is a major step in furthering inclusion and hearing accessibility,” says Julian Pieters, managing director, Ampetronic. “At Ampetronic, we have always provided audio direct to hearing aids, wherever possible, to the advantage of hard-of-hearing end users as well as venues. Since 2013, we have worked alongside the hearing-aid industry and the Bluetooth standards organization to create a roadmap for new technology. It is very exciting to take the first steps into the market. While it will take time to see Auracast receivers widely available; this complete system with dedicated receivers means venues can adopt the technology now.”

Delivering a Better Listening Experience

The new platform will transform hearing assistance in public spaces, says the company. Increasingly, Auracast will be available in many hearing aids, smartphones, earbuds and headphones. As a result, these devices will have the eligibility to receive an Auracast broadcast stream. End users will choose how they want to listen to audio for a personalized experience. Here, they can select announcement channels or language channels, like they would make a classic Bluetooth connection. That means the assistive listening system will be available to anyone with their own device, providing much broader inclusion. In the future, an end user with an Auracast certified device will be able to select an audio stream without needing a special app or borrowing a receiving device, the company notes.

Listen Technologies’ and Ampetronic state that their new platform will allow venues to adopt the technology rather than wait for the devices to become widely available.  The new platform will be optimized for reliability and performance and designed to be installed in any environment. This ranges from classrooms to stadiums, airport terminals to attractions. Transmitters can be managed remotely over a network, making it simple to provide whole-venue audio solutions, says Listen Technologies.

“I am excited to announce our latest innovation in partnership with Ampetronic, a groundbreaking assistive listening system powered by Auracast broadcast audio technology,” says Tracy Bathurst, CTO, Listen Technologies. “This cutting-edge system represents a significant leap in audio accessibility, allowing seamless transmission of clear audio to multiple receivers and hearing aids simultaneously. With this new solution we’re not just enhancing sound quality; we’re transforming the listening experience.”

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