Affordable hearing aids

Affordable hearing aids? AirPods Pro may be the answer…

AirPods Pro can act as affordable audio devices, with one study noting that they perform as well as dedicated devices that cost four-figure sums.

Apple is believed to position hearing aids as a mid-range target for AirPods as part of its commitment to accessibility, and has already taken some steps in this direction…


Modern hearing aids are sophisticated devices that have the ability to do things like filter out unwanted frequency bands and focus in certain directions. But this development comes at a cost. Typical mid-range hearing aids cost several thousand dollars, and the best ones come in the $10,000 range, creating a gap in the market for affordable, high-tech hearing aids.

This fact means that many of those who could benefit from a hearing aid cannot afford one. Statistics show that among those under the age of 70, only one in six who need it actually have it.

Apple has always paid attention to the functionality of hearing aids. Since 2013, the company’s MFi program has expanded to add iPhone functionality to Bluetooth hearing aids. In 2018, iOS 12 added Live Listen — and last year Apple introduced conversation enhancement to AirPods Pro, which enhances microphone pickup right in front of you, to better hear someone speaking to you.

A later report stated that this was just the beginning of Apple’s ambitions in this field.

AirPods Pro functions

However, while there may be a lot more to come from Apple, the Wall Street Journal He points to a study indicating that the current AirPods Pro actually compare well to more expensive dedicated devices.

A study published Tuesday in the journal iScience found that the sound amplification feature on Apple’s AirPods Pro helped adults with mild to moderate hearing loss hear speech nearly as well as two prescribed hearing aids. The study compared two types of Apple headphones with two types of hearing aids from other companies […]

In the new study, the AirPods Pro did not meet FDA standards for hearing aids. The researchers said they have amplified sound as well as some less advanced devices that help people hear better.

The study was quite small, but objective testing also found that the AirPods Pro meet four out of five earphone criteria.

In a sound and clarity test used to evaluate the performance of certain hearing aids, the AirPods Pro met the established criteria in four out of five categories, while the AirPods 2 met the criteria for two.

Study co-author Ying-Hui Lai, associate professor of biomedical engineering at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung in Taiwan, said the AirPods Pro exceeded the ideal limit for internal noise levels, which can make it difficult for users to distinguish between sounds and softer speech. University.

The biggest limitation, says one expert, is battery life, thanks to the AirPods that use the iPhone’s microphones and therefore need a stable Bluetooth connection.

said Michele DiStefano, MD, director of the Shelley and Stephen Einhorn Hearing Center at the Center for Hearing and Communication in New York.

Photo: Kreeson Naraidoo/Unsplash

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