Apple Air pods as hearing aid alternative

Interesting story about using apple air pods to help those with hearing loss.


The thing to ignore is that live listen has been available with aids. What the new version is should be a big step above the single phone microphone. I tried it and it was mediocre at best.

The pod has dual microphones and they can be housed in a larger space than any 4 mic setup available inside the smaller factor RIC aids. Size can matter. Also the battery is an order of magnitude larger. @Um_bongo view would be more accurate but my impression is this, in itself, could be a game changer with wider spacing of microphones and less need to compromise.

The form factor is one we are used to seeing. It doesn’t scream different which makes some more reluctant to wear aids. When the Blue Tooth units first appeared it was a fashion statement and is still a common sight. Contrast that to the reluctance here to have a BT clip-on/necklace.

Hearing aid limits revolve around size and power limits. HA manufacturers could easily overcome parts of that but would meet user resistance. You can still purchase an old form factor aid that doesn’t have such limits in wired form.
Of course that adds wires but it represents less compromise.

This is disruptive technology and probably overdue. Hearing aids are a niche market. Phone are a huge market. Adding aid feature would incrementally add phone sales. If it were huge it would have already happened.

Under current market conditions it appears hearing aids would go the way of the dodo. I don’t see that happening. Smart companies will differentiate their pods. How that succeeds is questionable. However, the app will allow the smart ones to sell them through audiologist and a solid markup. Getting out of manufacturing might not impact these business but turn them into R & D companies.

I imagine they are already building their war-chest to lobby for a minimal change where the app needed will still require a licensed professional. What they would lose would be the $200 device they sell for $1200+. So, they build much of that into the “medical app” they sell. If they don’t pull that off, there will be a ton of innovative apps for a variety of hearing loss needs in a competitive app market.

But at present I think it does say “I’m in my own world and not listening to you”. That could change of course.

i’m in California, and the attitude toward things sticking out of ones ears is markedly different. I see many Apple Air Pods, and other totally wireless devices often. I currently wear a pair of IQBuds Boost earbuds that are quite prominent, in black, so not as noticeable ad the white airpods.

In Starbucks, the burrito shop, on the bus, at the grocery store, at the flower shop, in a casual restaurant, no one gives them a second glance or is hesitant to talk to me, thinking my ears are plugged and I’m not listening. In many hundreds of encounters, only one person, a very alert 84 year old, in my senior community asked what was in my ears. No one else seems to notice, nor pay attention. Ear phones / buds are pretty mainstream around here. From very young to us well aged youngsters. :grin:

Now that I am in the process of buying my first aids, I’m more observant of others who have them. I see more HAs now of course, but in public places, no one seems to notice or treat them any differently. I followed a guy with two cochlear implants through the checkout at the grocery and no one even looked at him twice (except me trying to observe unobtrusively).

Teejaess. Appparently, the Q buds work well for you until you decided you needed more speech clarity or something?

For those who did not see the description “ Ear ID™, a self-fit system with a clinically validated audiometric hearing assessment that calibrates the IQbuds to give you a better hearing experience.” of course “clinically validated” could mean anything, but if it works…yet I see that you are buying HA.

I read about some waiting weeks to get an appt at Costco and living without sound basically, maybe these would be a backup. Right now I am living with one hearing aid.

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Tried Nuheara IQBuds Boost, hoped they could help at lower price, not the solution for my type of high end loss. They help, but speech in noise does not work well for me. I was not well informed on hearing improvement at the time I did the preorder on these. The only info I had a year ago from my ENT was that aids were ~$6K and at that time I could not afford that. I did not know about this forum or Costco. I received an insurance settlement earlier this year, and will spend some of that money on hearing aids and other health needs.

The clinical validation info is here, based on NAL-NL2 which my audi told me was only used in Australia, where Nuhears originates.

Yes, I went to Costco two weeks ago to make an appointment after leaving two phone messages with no reply (I got one three days after I walked in and made the appointment). I go in on Aug. 11th, and I am on the cancellation wait list, so hopefully sooner.

Key differences:

  • My hearing aids last 4 days on batteries vs 5 hours with the Air Pods.
  • My Resound Linx3D RIC hearing aids are almost invisible
  • Hearing aids are designed to be worn round the clock, Air Pods are not.
  • Hearing aids have many more features and can be customized to a huge range of needs.

This is why hearing aids are so expensive and won’t go away any time soon.


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Air Pods are open-fit. How big a hearing loss is that good for?