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Apple working with hearing aid manufacturers to improve audio experience

Hearing aids appleIn the forthcoming iOS 6 software upgrade for the iPhone, Apple have have said that:

We are working with top manufacturers to introduce Made for iPhone hearing aids that will deliver a power-efficient, high-quality digital audio experience.

It would be nice if this meant the birth of an Apple iHearingAid, which blazed a trail through the hearing industry and took hearing aids into the mainstream. Sadly, the reality is a little less exciting, but still very useful: Apple is working with hearing aid manufacturers to make sure hearing aid wearers get the best possible sound quality when using their iPhone – presumably manufacturers/aids that pass this QA test will be able to display a “Made For iPhone” badge.

How are they working to make a “power-efficient, high-quality digital audio experience”? My guess is that Apple will either create a neckloop to allow bluetooth connectivity to iPhones – the iNeck! – or they will do away with the neckloop altogether and provide a small plugin device  that goes into the iPhone power port to allow bluetooth connections. It would be a major advance on what we have at the moment if they did away with the neckloop. Apple will presumably be asking the manufactures to implement their single bluetooth connectivity protocol in order to get the “Made for iPhone” stamp.

I guess this would also open up the possibility of an iPhone app to allow you to change volume, switch programmes and make other changes to your aid. Some manufacturers already have these control apps, and indeed most manufacturers offer bluetooth connectivity, but this will be the first time that devices from different manufacturers could be controlled using a single device.

What’s your take on the Apple hearing aid announcement? With this and the social network, it looks like Apple have one eye firmly on the hearing industry.