AirPods Pro Become Hearing Aids in iOS 14

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it will be interesting to see just what hearing loss they can cover. I bet more than likely only mild to many molderate

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I’m actually surprised how well I hear phone calls and even more so music using the first AirPods that came out. (For some albums admittedly I have to use maximum audio, usually not.) They’re comfortable, usually I wear them for audiobooks more than anything else. For close to a week they’ve saved my sanity. Infected ears resulting in prescription drops made my ears to “sticky” for RIC HA. Then just as I thought infection was cleared I experienced what seemed to be an extremely painful allergy or some type reaction to the drops. It was as if I’d lost all my hearing except for now having tinnitus. This morning earaches, headache very much improved. I was able to do the Apple Developer Conference on youtube using my AirPods and heard clearly. (I tried HA tonight for TV and audio quality so poor I muted TV, removed HA, reverted to closed captioning.)

Perhaps I recall incorrectly but most age-related hearing loss is in the mild-to-moderate range. So the advent of ear buds that can possibly function as suitable hearing aids at a reasonable price is great news, especially with the FDA’s OTC allowance of such devices after August, 2020. While Apple Air Pods are very high quality, they’re pretty expensive compared to ear buds from other major sellers like Samsung. So if performance issues can be solved, ear buds that can double as assistive listening devices, not just music and podcast players, will bring hearing aids into the range where less advantaged folks can afford a good set of ear buds that works both for recreation and every day life out of the box for popular phones. And perhaps with all the “young 'uns” running around with buds stuffed into their ears, older folks will feel less “stigma” and not specially labeled as incapacitated by what they’re wearing. Although missing all the bells and whistles that you get with full-featured hearing aids is another matter - but maybe there will be an app for that! Also, with the mass-market aspect of such devices maybe the level of technology and the rate of progress will be kicked up a notch or two from what HA OEM’s currently seem capable of, i.e., going to the 7 nm process size level will no longer be an economic development impediment because ear bud makers will be selling hundreds of millions, maybe even billions of these devices.

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I can now use my AirPods Pro as hearing aids with iOS 14. I just needed to activate the functionality with an audiogram from Apple Health app (I made one with the Mimi app).

Works quite well. I don’t like the occlusion effect but other than that it actually sounds great.


That’s awesome! Maybe you can lower the gain for bass, since that’s probably the source of occlusion, judging from your loss?

Do they use mic on the phone or they have one on them?

The only setting I have is to enable it with the audiogram, so I can’t lower the gain for bass or things like that.

It uses the mics/transparency mode on the AirPods Pro, so if you set them up with an iPhone I think you can use them with Android and still use the same audiogram settings (I don’t have Android so can’t try it). I can turn off my iPhone and it still works.

I use the transparency mode at 50% volume. I tried crank it up to 100% but got annoyed by the fans on my computer. Overall I’m very impressed.

Do they ‘do’ audiogram or you enter the values?

In any case, you can try to fake your low frequency hearing to be better and see if occlusion gets better :slight_smile:

Like, 125hz, 250hz, around those…

I had to use the Mimi app and run an audiogram on-device with AirPods Pro. No way to change the audiogram values. Maybe they will allow it in the future, I hope so.

How much gain can they give? Can they be good for someone with moderate to sever sloping loss?

I purchased a set of Airpods Pro today. They are not hearing aids!

They entirely unsuitable. They have a lot of latency even with normal hearing and even worse for making music such as guitar playing. If you are looking for an alternative to hearing aids, don’t waste your money.

The control interface is also fiddly.

I am going to try to return them.

YMMV, Jeff

What is HA (Hearing aid, or Headphone Accommodations that’s built-in to iPhones)?

Sounds like, maybe, you are using Live Listen mode. In iOS 14 (just released last week), after setting up your audiogram with Mimi, and using Custom Transparency in Accessibility -> Audio/Visual -> Hearing Accommodations there is practically zero latency. I’m a guitarist as well and I’m very sensitive to any kind of latency and I can confirm that these are as good, if not better that my hearing aids, in that area.


I actually had some really excellent success eliminating occlusion by creating some custom vented tips. I created a DIY video here:

Agree with Adam here, not noticing any latency issues myself, and sound for music is exceptional when compared to hearing aids. Having said that, they are not really hearing aid substitutes either.

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Regarding venting, there is supposedly a vent on the airpods pro’s … but I couldn’t find much information about it.

From my understanding the valve is simply used improve comfort while inserting the AirPods but can’t find anything in the technical info about it. I’m assuming they prioritize bass tones over minimizing occlusion.

This is streaming correct?

Wonder if they are better than hearing aids if not being streamed.

Has anyone tried them with live music or music from a high quality sound system?

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Thank you for the advice, Adam,

I did try every possible combination and did not attain suitable results. For me and my hearing, it just isn’t ready for prime time. I am an almost complete adopter of Apple products. The Air Pods Pro are the first Apple product I have ever found unsuitable. They produce newer versions of their equipment on a regular basis. Possibly a future Air Pod will work well.

My Phonak Naida Q70s are still working well. they are now seven years old. I am now retired and on a limited budget. I hope the OTC equipment will provide the necessary assistance when my Phonaks are no longer operational.


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That’s right. Haven’t been to any concerts lately :man_shrugging: