iOS 18 May Transform AirPods Pro into Useful Medical Device

What you should know

  • Last year, the FDA created a new category for over-the-counter hearing aids, paving the way for companies like Apple to potentially enter the market with products like the AirPods Pro.
  • Apple’s AirPods Pro is expected to feature a major new hearing aid mode with the release of iOS 18, as reported by Mark Gurman, though no hardware changes are anticipated for 2024.
  • A study conducted at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital found that using AirPods Pro and AirPods 2 with the Live Listen feature can improve quality of life for individuals without access to professional hearing aids.
  • There is a social stigma associated with wearing traditional hearing aids, leading many to avoid them. Products like AirPods could offer a more socially acceptable alternative, potentially increasing adoption among those experiencing hearing loss.

Full Story

Last year, something big happened. The FDA decided we don’t always need a prescription for hearing aids. No more medical exams or fittings. Just like that, the game changed. And guess who’s eyeing this new playground? Apple, with its AirPods Pro.

Mark Gurman, in his Power On newsletter, dropped some interesting tidbits. Don’t hold your breath for any fancy hardware updates to the AirPods Pro in 2024. Nope. The real scoop? A spanking new hearing aid mode is on the horizon, set to roll out with iOS 18.

Oh, and remember last November? We chatted about this study from Taipei Veterans General Hospital. They took an AirPods Pro and an AirPods 2, each hooked up to an iPhone. Using the Live Listen feature, they amplified sounds straight to the AirPods. Yen-Fu Cheng, the study’s lead, gave it a thumbs up. Not perfect, but a solid start for folks without access to pro hearing aids. A little boost in life quality, you know?

Back in 2016, Apple snagged a patent. It was all about biometric sensors in earbuds, scooping up health data. Fast forward, and it’s not just about health tracking. It’s about breaking down barriers.

Cheng pointed out something else. There’s this whole “social stigma” thing with hearing aids. Makes people feel old, apparently. A survey showed 75% of Americans would rather not wear one. But AirPods? They’re a different story. Slap those on, and you’re suddenly part of the cool crowd. Or so the thinking goes.

So, yeah. Apple’s not just making gadgets. They’re subtly shifting perceptions. Making tech that’s not just smart, but kind. And honestly? That’s pretty cool.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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