They may have ended up with a less than stellar reputation during their initial launch, but Apple’s wireless Bluetooth AirPods have proven to be more functional than we initially thought.
Through the new iOS 12 operating system, which is currently available as a public beta and will be officially launched this coming fall, anyone with AirPods can use the built-in "Live Listen" feature on their iPhones to magnify the sounds around them. This is excellent news for anyone in need of a cheap and multifunctional hearing aid substitute.
How to activate the hearing aid function
Users can access Apple’s “Live Listen” assistive hearing technology with AirPods via Bluetooth using a device, such as an iPhone, installed with the iOS 12 operating system.
Go to the device’s control center and select customize controls where you will find the hearing feature (the button with an ear icon). To start using the AirPods as hearing aids, place them in your ears and tap “Live Listen.” Use your iPhone’s microphone as a directional mic and sounds will be amplified so that they are easier to hear. That is all it takes to have alternative hearing aids for less than $200.
Unfortunately, AirPods are not recommended for people with hearing that has significantly deteriorated because they are not as good as traditional hearing aids. Apple encourages people to consult with their doctors first before trying this feature as a solution to their hearing problems.
Edward Baig, from USA Today, tested out this function and found that AirPods do help in hearing sounds more clearly and at a higher volume but that their quality is not comparable to real hearing aids, at least not yet.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple is continuously improving their AirPods and are set to launch a water-resistant and noise-canceling version next year.
For those with mild hearing loss, having an inconspicuous hearing device within arm’s reach can provide more confidence when going about daily tasks. For some, AirPods may end up being the perfect solution.
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