What is Auracast? The Bluetooth technology revolutionising audio

Imagine this now: You’re in a bustling airport waiting for your flight. You look over and see a group of people huddled around a television watching a thrilling sports match, but you can’t hear anything. Now, what if you could tune into that audio directly on your headphones?

Welcome to the future of audio technology, where this is possible with LE Audio and Auracast.

auracast bluetooth technology

Understanding LE Audio and Auracast

LE Audio, which was introduced in the new Bluetooth 5.2 and 5.3 standards, is a low-powered version of Bluetooth technology designed specifically for when you’re streaming audio.

Along with this, we have the introduction of Auracast, which is a feature that allows an audio source transmitter to broadcast either a single or multiple audio streams to an unlimited number of audio receivers, which in reality could be your Bluetooth earbuds or even Bluetooth hearing aids.

Now, the big question is…

Why is this an improvement on classic Bluetooth?

Bluetooth technology dates way back to 1999 and was designed initially for high bandwith wireless data transfer applications. This happened to include streaming audio, but that isn’t what it was originally designed for.

On the other hand, LE Audio uses a codec called LC3 which stands for Low Complexity Communication Codec, and this supports:

  • A wide range of usable bit rates, with bit depths of 16, 24 and 32 bits
  • Unlimited channels
  • Sampling rates of 8, 16, 24, 32, 44 and 48 kHz

If you’re wondering why bit rate is so important, it’s essentially the number of bits that are conveyed or processed per unit of time. In simpler terms, it’s how much information your audio sends out per second from your device in an online platform. The higher the bit rate, the better the audio quality.

In practical terms, if you’re listening to your favourite song on your headphones using classic Bluetooth, of course, the quality of that sound isn’t going to be that bad – especially if it’s what you’re used to. But when you switch over to LE Audio, you’ll notice the sound is a lot clearer, which is all down to the magic of this LC3 codec built into this LE Audio.

bluetooth earpiece

Streaming audio directly to hearing aids with Auracast

Remember the airport scenario from the beginning? With Auracast, you can tune into the audio of the TV broadcasting that sports match directly to your headphones or even your hearing aids, with no more straining to hear over the noise of the crowd that surrounds you. The awesome news is that this goes for hearing aids too.

LE Audio introduces broadcasting of signals to any hearing aid user who is in the range of the transmitter that has a compatible hearing aid, meaning that with the press of a button or using the app for your hearing aids, you can activate the Auracast and you’ll be able to connect to the Auracast transmission.

LE Audio adds lower latency, lower power consumption, and a better quality signal to Bluetooth hearing aids too, and this allows developers to offer more features without impacting the battery life. In my opinion, this is going to have a hugely significant impact on the next generation of hearing aids being built.

We’ve already got Signia, ReSound, and Oticon who’ve got LE Audio built into their hearing aids ready for the global rollout of this Auracast transmission.

If you want to know more about the hearing aids that have this tech built in, then read our review of the best hearing aid technology of 2024.

LE Audio & Auracast DESTROY all existing Bluetooth headphone audio…

Matthew Allsop is a Partner at Harley Street Hearing and the content creator for Hearing Tracker, where he shares his honest opinions on all things to do with hearing health and hearing aid technology. Hearing Tracker is the world’s first truly independent resource for hearing aid customers. You can watch his video on LE Audio & Auracast below.

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