How to use AirPods as hearing aids

Try this out and see if your ears could use a boost.

Apple reportedly will add hearing aid functionality to AirPods Pro in the iOS 18 update coming this summer.

But hang on, say what? Why is this dependent on iOS 18? What about the AirPods themselves — won’t they need some kind of hardware update to allow this?

Likely not. Thanks to external microphones (used for phone calls), active noise cancellation and Transparency Mode (which allows you to hear what’s going on around you while still listening to audio), Apple’s pro earbuds are already equipped, hardware-wise, to serve as hearing aids.

My own experience bears this out. I recently had to send my prescription hearing aids to the shop for battery replacement. While they were away, I used my AirPods Pro instead.

They worked pretty well in most situations, but they took a bit of setting up, including taking a hearing test to generate an audiogram (which you can do yourself for free).

I recommend you try this out, even if you don’t think you need to.

I had no idea about the extent of my own hearing loss until I got tested. And if you already own AirPods, they are a good, free way to dip your toes into the wonderful world of hearing aids without spending a ton of dough.

Also in today’s newsletter:

— Leander Kahney, EIC.

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One more thing ...

I like to think that something survives after you die. It’s strange to think that you accumulate all this experience, and maybe a little wisdom, and it just goes away. So I really want to believe that something survives, that maybe your consciousness endures. But on the other hand, perhaps it’s like an on-off switch. Click! And you’re gone. Maybe that’s why I never liked to put on-off switches on Apple devices.

— Steve Jobs, 2011.

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