Android 10 will let you stream Bluetooth audio directly to hearing aids

A man cupping his hand up to his ear
(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

With an all-new name, system wide dark mode, and improved privacy controls, Android 10 is one of the biggest updates to Google's mobile operating system yet.

Among the other improvements, Google has added a handful of new accessibility features, headlined by Android 10's ability to work with some of the best hearing aids and turn them into fully-fledged Bluetooth headsets.

Utilising the Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) protocol and Bluetooth Low Energy technology, it allows individuals who are hard of hearing to stream audio like music and voice calls directly to their hearing aids.

At launch, the impact of the new Android 10 accessibility feature will be slightly tempered by limited phone and hearing aid compatibility.

It will be available on just three hearing devices – the ReSound LiNX Quattro, Beltone Amaze and Cochlear Nucleus – and four Google-made smartphones in the form of the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.

The good news is that Google said it plans make the platform open source, which should make it easier for other manufacturers to implement the new technology in the near future.

That's what happened earlier in the year when Google released another accessibility initiative, the Sound Amplifier app. While initial rollout wasn't all that comprehensive, it now works with most newer Android smartphones and gives them many of the same powers that good hearing aids feature.

James Laird

A technology journalist with nearly 10 years of experience, James is the former News and Features Editor at Trusted Reviews, and has also served as regional Editor of Lifehacker. His articles have been spotted on sites ranging from The Sun to InStyle, but his true love is shiny things and the story behind them. An avid golfer in his spare time, you'll also regularly catch him hovering over the BBQ listening to Pearl Jam.