Qualcomm, Jacoti to bring hearing enhancement tech to Bluetooth earbuds

The integration will bring improved hearing assistance to Bluetooth earbuds using Qualcomm's QCC5100 SoCas

Qualcomm will collaborate with audio technology company Jacoti to integrate its hearing enhancement software into Bluetooth chips.

In a press release, Qualcomm detailed plans to bring the hearing software to its QCC5100 Series ‘Ultra-Low Power Bluetooth’ systems-on-a-chip (SoCs). Qualcomm makes those chips for use in true wireless earbuds and Bluetooth headsets, and says the integration will add more accessible, accurate personalized hearing assistance and safety features.

As part of the motivation behind the collaboration, Qualcomm points to a World Health Organization (WHO) report that says a third of the global population over 65 have disabling hearing loss. Further, over 1 billion teens and adults are at risk of hearing loss, and the report expects more than 900 million people to have disabling hearing loss by 2050.

“By working with Jacoti, we’re making hearing enhancement and personalization technology more accessible to consumers than ever before. For our customers, who are competing in a rapidly changing and crowded market, exciting technologies like this will provide a really interesting way to differentiate and enrich the end-user experience,” said James Chapman, vice president and general manager of voice, music and wearables at Qualcomm.

“We are excited to have this collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and be able to integrate our audiologically-based hearing solutions into this powerful platform to improve the audio experience of all users,” said Jacques Kinsbergen, CEO and founder of Jacoti, in the release.

Jacoti’s technology includes a self-administered hearing test that users can take. These tests play various tones and frequencies to establish volume thresholds for a user’s hearing. The technology then creates two audiograms — one tailored for each ear — that act as a user’s “individual hearing prescription based on their individual hearing.”

Qualcomm says these audiograms, along with Jacoti technology, will work on devices that use its QCC5100 SoCs and across multiple devices. The software will intercept incoming sound before it reaches users’ ears and adjust the volume of appropriate frequencies to compensate for that person’s individual hearing issues. Additionally, the software can help prevent exposure to sounds that could further damage hearing.