AirPods Pro to Get Hearing Aid Mode with iOS 18, No Hardware Changes Expected in 2024

March 11, 2024 – In his latest edition of the Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman states that the AirPods Pro are not expected to undergo any hardware changes in 2024. However, on the software side, he hints at a “significant development” in the form of a hearing aid mode that will be introduced alongside iOS 18.

Since 2018, AirPods have offered a feature called Live Listen, which was introduced as part of iOS 12. This functionality turns the iPhone into a directional microphone, transmitting audio captured by the device in real-time to the AirPods.

In 2021, Apple further enhanced the AirPods Pro with a Conversation Boost feature. This capability improves the microphone’s ability to pick up sound from directly in front of the user, making it easier to hear conversations.

It’s also worth noting that in 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established new guidelines allowing a certain class of hearing aids to be sold over the counter. These hearing aids can be purchased directly from stores or online without the need for a medical exam or fitting by an audiologist.

Interestingly, a study published in the journal “iScience” in November 2022 found that the sound amplification capabilities of Apple’s AirPods Pro can help adults with mild to moderate hearing loss hear better. The performance of these earbuds was comparable to that of two professional prescription hearing aids.

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