Amazon's latest TVs can now stream straight into hearing implants

Amazon's new feature enables Fire TVs to connect to Cochlear brand implants, delivering high-quality TV sound for people with hearing loss.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
on the left: A picture of a Fire TV Cube against a white background. On the right: a picture of a woman smiling while wearing a cochlear implant

As technology evolves, companies are taking steps to make their tech as inclusive as possible. From motorized lipstick applicators to innovative bone conduction headphones, it's clear that for many companies, engineering their products to fit the needs of people with disabilities is a priority. 

Amazon is the latest in tech to expand its accessibility measures. The company announced that people with hearing loss who wear cochlear implants can now stream sound from their Amazon TV to their Cochlear brand implants

Also: AirPods Pro might be an inexpensive solution to your hearing loss

Cochlear implants are worn by people with inner ear hearing loss. For hearing people, sound waves enter the outer ear and then travel to the eardrum, where waves vibrate it. Then, the middle ear amplifies the sound and delivers it to the cochlea in the inner ear, where the signal is transmitted to the auditory nerve in the brain. 

In people with damage to their inner ear, where the cochlea is, electrical signals made by the cochlea aren't transmitted as efficiently. Cochlear implants receive sound waves directly from the middle ear and stimulate the auditory nerve, bypassing any impaired parts of the ear. 

With Amazon's new technology, some cochlear implants can be paired with Fire TVs, so people with hearing loss can directly listen to their favorite content on streaming platforms, music streaming platforms, and cable TV. With this feature, people can also use Alexa technology for virtual assistance.

Also: The best bone conduction headphones (and how they work)

Amazon collaborated with Cochlear, a company that manufactures the Nucleus cochlear implant and the Baha bone conduction implant, which are now the only inner ear sound processing devices that can pair to Amazon TVs. 

Amazon says the new technology aims to include people with hearing loss who typically avoid watching TV due to echoing and poor sound quality. When Cochlear devices are paired with a Fire TV, the sound from the TV bypasses the implant's microphone, preserving sound quality. 

The new feature is now available on compatible devices: Fire TVs in the Omni QLED series, Omni series, 4-series, and second and third-generation Fire TV Cube. Only Cochlear Nucleus 8, Nucleus 7, Nucleus Kanso 2, and Baha Max sound processors are compatible with Fire TVs. 

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