iOS 18 could bring hearing aid functionality to AirPods Pro


iOS 18 could bring hearing aid functionality to AirPods Pro
Conversation Boost in current AirPods Pro acts like a hearing aid but Apple reportedly wants to go farther.
Graphic: Apple

AirPods Pro might be able to act more like a hearing aid with the release of iOS 18, according to an Apple tipster.

The additional audio function would benefit those with slight hearing loss who aren’t ready for more serious hearing assistance.

Skip the hearing aid with AirPods Pro in iOS 18

Many people wear AirPods for hours every day so they can (1) listen to music but also (2) close off the world. But soon these truly wireless earbuds could help wearers better communicate with the people around them.

The release of iOS 18 in the autumn will add new hearing aid capabilities to AirPods Pro, according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman. No additional details on what exactly that means came from the tipster.

Better than Live Listen and Conversation Boost?

Specifics on the upcoming hearing aid feature for AirPods Pro are lacking, but it will obviously have to improve on Conversation Boost, a feature that’s been in AirPods Pro since 2022. It uses software to amplify the voice of the person the wearer is speaking with.

And several Apple headphones models also support Live Listen, which turns an iPhone or iPad into a microphone that sends sound to any of several AirPods models. This is useful than sitting in a noisy environment like a restaurant.

A 2022 FDA full change allows companies to sell hearing aids over the counter and online, without a doctor’s intervention. Ever since, there have been expectations that Apple would make AirPods act as a hearing aid for those who need extra help. These have been helped along by leaks indicating the audio feature is on the way.

iOS 18 is expected to be announced at WWDC24 in June. New artificial intelligence-driven features are expected to be a highlight, and being able to pick out speech from ambient noise and amplify just it might be one of those AI additions.


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