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AirPods can act as inexpensive hearing aids in iOS 12

By Greg S
Jun 6, 2018
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  1. Accessibility features on smartphones have gotten much better over several generations of hardware and are rarely mentioned by reviewers. Healthcare costs and medical devices have drastically increased in price despite technology improvements being made.

    Apple's Live Listen feature that was notably absent from Monday's main presentation at WWDC will allow for AirPods to be used in iOS 12. Previously, only "Made for iPhone" certified hearing aids could be used with this option.

    Once AirPods are paired with an iPhone and the Live Listen feature enabled, end users can use their phone as a microphone and have an audio stream delivered directly to their ears. This makes it possible to hand off an iPhone to another person so that they can speak directly into it; a useful ability in loud environments.

    Even though Live Listen was originally created in 2014, the inclusion of support for AirPods is a welcomed change. As one of the most popular tech gifts this past holiday season, the wireless earbuds are clearly priced at a point where consumers are willing to buy them just because there is a want, not a need. A relatively affordable assistive feature could be a compelling reason for many to consider Apple's products.

    Hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars while AirPods have a base price of $159.99. Clearly there are major differences in the technologies being used and AirPods are not a replacement for dedicated hearing aids, but the ease of access and rechargeable batteries certainly have a valid place in the market.

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  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,134   +3,559

    Now that could be an innovation to lure the older users back to the Iphone as well as put some of the hearing aid Mfg. back in line with more reasonable prices! Bravo Apple!
  3. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,664   +424

    This already happens with earphones. My Jaybird X3s do that, but Jaybird does not capitalise on this as much as Apple is going to.

    I am surprised more companies have not jumped on this, its fairly easy to do.
    Godel and Fearghast like this.
  4. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,787   +3,168

    Technically you've been able to do this for some time now on windows and android so it's nothing new. You can enable "listen to microphone" on any windows PC since windows XP. This extends to windows installed on tablets like the surface.

    Either way, this isn't a replacement for hearing aids. Especially when you need to hold your phone up in order to use it. You aren't going to hear well if you phone is in your pocket.

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