Amazon FireTV’s New Capabilities for Hearing Loss

by | May 15, 2023 | News

Soundtracks and conversations between characters are an integral part of watching TV shows and movies. People with hearing loss can find it challenging to follow conversations, especially on TV. Amazon Fire TV addresses this problem with new technologies to make streaming programming more enjoyable.

What Is Amazon Fire TV?

In 2014, Amazon released its first Fire TV device. These devices plug into your television or monitor via HDMI cables to allow you to watch streamed movies and shows from various sources. When active, Fire Sticks and Fire Cubes serve as an operating system. You can use them with Smart TVs or standard sets. The retailer also offers television sets with built-in Fire TV capabilities.

According to Amazon, “Through research, we’ve learned that improving TV sound quality was one of the most requested features among hearing aid users.” The company launched its initial accessibility programming that supports Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) in April 2022. In February 2023, they released a new app that connects with cochlear implants.

How Does Amazon Fire TV’s New Capabilities Help Those With Hearing Loss?

When televisions produce sound, it echoes off walls and bounces around. Furniture can absorb the sounds. By the time sounds reach people with hearing loss, the quality reduces, and dialog is difficult to understand. This limits how much enjoyment you get from watching TV.

Hearing Aids

People who have specific Fire TV devices can connect their compatible Bluetooth hearing aids and receive sound directly from their TVs. This feature works with streaming services, Alexa, games, and other apps. The company plans to expand Fire TV and the supported hearing aid options.

For best results, you should use a 5GHz wifi connection and be under 10 feet away from your TV. You can still use this feature with 2.4 GHz wifi, but the optimum range varies.

Cochlear Implants

Some people with extreme hearing loss or who are profoundly deaf may choose to use cochlear implants to augment their hearing. Although expensive, these implants work for both children and adults.

To expand accessibility options to people using cochlear implants, Amazon partnered with Cochlear, an Australian company that manufactures these devices. Similar to connecting hearing aids, you can pair your Cochlear implant with a compatible Fire TV device.

Are There Alternatives to Amazon’s Fire TV?

Fire TV was the first streaming media system that supported ASHA. If you don’t have an equipped Fire TV device or compatible hearing aids, you may benefit from using a TV streamer.

Some people with hearing aids still have problems understanding streamed sounds. TV streamers can connect to almost all TVs and transfer sound directly into your hearing aids.

Is Amazon Fire TV Hearing Accessibility Right for You?

Everyone’s hearing loss is different and affects them in various ways. What works well for one person may not work for another. The HEAR Center can help. We provide pediatric and adult audiological evaluations and hearing aids, speech therapy, and other services to benefit those with hearing loss.

If you have questions about the Amazon Fire TV accessibility app or other hearing-related issues, contact us today.

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