AirPods Pro Real Ear Measurements on My Ear

I ran some REMs on my AirPods Pro’s today. What do you all think?

(Click on the image or links below to see the slides)



Thanks for doing this. I’m a fairly new hearing aid user and updated my Airpods this week too. I was pretty amazed at the improvement but wondered how accurate it was. It’s obviously got a ways to go. But I think in a year or two Apple could be giving the big six a run for their money!

Need help understanding this test. What do YOU think?! I feel that is more important!

Did you measure latency? In the transparency mode the latency was so bad, I could hear my own voice echo.

I think they work decently as sound amplifiers and overall have a good build quality and sound quality is excellent. As “hearing aids” I consider them limited to milder losses and it’s pretty hard to optimize gain, even with REMs. My guess is most end users won’t be anywhere near their gain prescription, but the gain should still provide a real benefit when compared to no hearing aids at all. Regarding latency, I didn’t have any issues personally with that or my own voice. In fact, I think they handle own voice really well. Bottom line, the AirPods will introduce thousands or maybe millions to amplification for the first time, and that is huge. Given the limited battery life, comfort issues, and potentially awkward social reception, I see AirPods more as a first step for people with mild loss.


This is great! Thanks for doing this. This took a lot of work!

A couple of questions based on personal observations so far:

  1. Was the audiogram generated with transparency mode or noise cancelling on. I’ve noticed that has seemed to make a substantial difference in the outcomes for me. Turning them completely off has seemed to generate the most accurate audiogram.

  2. How did the audiogram used for the REMs compare to the audiogram generated within Apple Health? I’d be curious to know. That will inform where the failure comes from. I understand, at the end of the process, the goal is to provide the end user with proper amplification but, if the issue is that the Apple audiogram is too far off that likely won’t be possible in its entirety.

Thanks again, Abram. I hope you’re doing well.

1 Like

I would like to echo the appreciation for the work you have put in to do the test. It’s somewhat disappointing that SII is poor in Transparency Mode with no Accommodations. Providing the amplification requirements are within what the Airpods are capable of, I wonder how close their performance would be compared with hearing aids that haven’t been subject to REM

  1. Audiogram generated with AirPods pro and transparency off
  2. The audiogram I inputted into the rems equipment was taken directly from apple health’s dbhl thresholds.

To be clear, I wasn’t testing the accuracy of the audiogram at all, and really just testing apple’s fitting algorithm / AirPods gain capabilities.

Actually this makes sense. In this mode there is no accommodation for hearing loss, so the gain would be set for someone with normal hearing.

Depends on the hearing loss thresholds and manufacturer … There is a lot of variability in first fit philosophy amongst the manfs.

My dumb question…with little knowledge of these items, would they improve/reduce my less-than-acceptable reception of the ‘hollowish’ speaking sound I sense while watching my Television ? Thank you sir.

A comparison would be interesting because most audiologists don’t offer REM and what it would give is a more realistic assessment of the value of airpods as hearing aids. Of course, it would take rather a lot of randomly selected hearing aid wearers to authenticate! What matters most is low cost devices like this hold the promise of giving a huge number of people benefit. These are exciting times, especially when you have products like the forthcoming Bose hearing aid that apparently won’t have a conventional hearing assessment at all and, consequently, no prescription to be met! Doesn’t seem possible, does it?! However, the Hearphone technology on which it is largely based did pretty well!

This is the approach taken by apps like Chatable, EarMachine (acquired by Bose), google’s sound amplifier app, and others. I’m all for this novel strategy, but the science behind providing audibility and limiting over-amplification across discreet pitch bands is strong.

1 Like

OK, thanks! Perfect. So, that makes it clear that the issue with the REMs don’t arise from discrepancies in the two audiograms.

What’s interesting to me, from personal experience, is that the it feels like speech is more enhanced and amplified than background noise with the Airpods than with the last pair of RIC hearing aids that I trialed. I have a better time understanding speech in general with these, and I’ve heard similar reports from users that have commented on my video on YouTube. I wonder if there’s a legitimate reason for that, of if it’s simply a placebo effect.

The biggest negative, so far, has been the social impact with these versus hearing aids. That may change as more people begin to use these in this capacity. As far as battery life, I’ve gotten over 5 hours using them strictly in custom transparency with no streaming from my phone. This has been plenty of time for my usage.

Unlikely to be placebo! Airpods have a hybrid ANC system. The inner cancelers remain on in Transparency Mode. The reduction in noise would lead to an increased signal to noise ratio and therefore better speech understanding

1 Like

When can we expect to see some side-by-side comparisons between some common high-end devices (e.g. Phonak Audeo Marvel 90 Rechargeable) and the Apple AirPods Pro?

It seems remarkable that Bose have dispensed with the traditional hearing assessment and still have enough in the locker to satisfy the FDA their new product can be designated a hearing aid. Perhaps how well a device meets a prescription won’t be a criteria in the future! The benefit people are reporting with the airpods seems to be defying the numbers!

Maybe not, but today it’s still a good objective way to quickly assess differences between products. And everything else is anecdotal … Until we have large scale double-blind research showing real-world comparable benefit and satisfaction, I’d be hesitant to jump to conclusions about audibility and over-amplification no longer meaning anything. My guess is even the best AI noise removal product would be further improved by providing optimal audibility.

Thanks for following the entry of consumer electronics into the realm of audiology. I need to brush up on the terminology so I can better understand the benefits and limitations. I don’t have funds or insurance that will allow me to replace my Starkey Halo 2 HAs when they eventually fail. I’m definitely going to try these consumer products (Apple/Bose) as they become available.

1 Like

Excellent point and one I hadn’t considered. I was aware of this but it hadn’t clicked that this is likely the cause.