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Apple partners with Danish company, creates hearing aid

While hearing aids might not be the most stylish accessory, if anyone can make them cool, it's Apple.

Cupertino worked with Danish company GN Store Nord to build a hearing aid that integrates with the iPhone.

The device, the ReSound LiNX, uses Bluetooth-like technology to pair with an Apple gadget to stream voice communications and music to those wearing the LiNX.

The device uses 2.4 GHz technology, which GN first started experimenting with in 2010. But as it turns out, Apple also incorporated 2.4 GHz tech into its iPhones last year, Reuters said. Cupertino was shopping around for hearing aid manufacturers that were using 2.4 GHz, so "an instant pairing was made," with GN.

The 2.4 GHz tech was preferable to Bluetooth because Bluetooth requires a lot of energy and sizeable antennas. But 2.4 GHz also "provides twice the performance without additional battery consumption and enables the industry's best direct connectivity, including Made for iPhone," GN said in a statement . Still, it was a challenge to find something "that could run for several days without frequent and fiddly battery changes," Reuters said.

The LiNX, which GN called the "first made for iPhone hearing aid," is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2014. GN promised optimisation for any sound environment, smooth transitions between listening settings, and feedback-free amplification.

The smallest-ever wireless device from GN ReSound, the LiNX will be available in 10 hair and skin-tone colors to reduce visibility when placed behind the ear. It also sports five receiver lengths for a precise physical fit, plus a push button for onboard access to multiple programs, a typical 312 battery, a secure receiver locking mechanism, new silicon microphones, and iSolate Nanotech coating to make the ReSound LiNX water repellent.

"ReSound LiNX again underlines our core strength of bringing breakthrough innovations to the hearing impaired, making them consumers with choices rather than patients with challenges," GN CEO Lars Viksmoen said in a statement.

There is no word yet on how much the device will cost.

Apple has also been in the headlines with rumours that it will launch a 12.9in tablet in March 2014.