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Classic Bluetooth® is a short-range, wireless broadcast for personal devices, such as connecting hearing aids to smartphones. It cannot be used as an assistive listening system. Classic Bluetooth requires pairing, has a latency of 100+ milliseconds (ms), and drains batteries. It is a low power radio system that can continuously stream data over 79 channels in the 2.4GHz unlicensed industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) frequency band.

Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) is a new wireless broadcast technology. Bluetooth LE uses less energy and claims other benefits. A Bluetooth system designed for very low power operation, transmitting data over 40 channels in the 2.4GHz unlicensed ISM frequency band. Note Bluetooth LE remains in sleep mode except when a connection is initiated. Power consumption is lower and data rates are higher than Classic Bluetooth but connection is not continuous.

Auracast™ broadcast audio is a set of defined configurations of Bluetooth® broadcast audio specified within the Public Broadcast Profile (PBP) specification.

Auracast Broadcast is not currently usable in hearing instruments, though some manufacturers claim their instruments are “Auracast ready.” Not all hearing instruments include Auracast.

Auracast as an assistive listening system does not exist, and specifications, design, and development are only in their infancy. For a summary, see Auracast (this website). When the ecosystem is built in about a decade, Auracast as an assistive listening system will be another ALS. Each system has its pros and cons.

Resource: Bluetooth VS Bluetooth Low Energy: A Detailed Comparison, Mokosmart, October 2023

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