AirPods Pro May Get a New ‘Hearing Aid Mode’ with iOS 18

airpods pro 2
AirPods Pro 2
In Short
  • Apple is reportedly working on a new "hearing aid mode" for AirPods Pro alongside iOS 18 release.
  • This feature could be a game changer for AirPods Pro users who have hearing disabilities.
  • Right now, Apple hasn't made any official statement.

Apple’s iOS 18 is expected to be the biggest software update in the history of iPhones. Likely to make a debut at WWDC 2024, iOS 18 is believed to be Apple’s next big thing. And now, the Cupertino tech giant is reportedly gearing up to introduce a new accessibility feature that could be a game changer for AirPod Pro users. A recent report says Apple is planning to offer a new “hearing aid mode” for AirPods Pro, alongside the iOS 18 release.

According to Mark Gurman’s latest newsletter, there won’t be any significant hardware changes to the AirPods Pro in 2024. Instead, Apple will be focusing more on software, with the new hearing mode being the limelight feature.

Apple AirPods Pro

AirPods already offer different accessibility features related to hearing health. In 2018, Apple introduced a Live Listen feature with iOS 12. This feature essentially turns your iPhone into a directional microphone, transmitting everything it hears to AirPods in real time. Users find this feature supremely handy in noisy environments or when they want to focus on what someone is saying.

In 2021, Apple added a Conversation Boost capability to AirPods Pro, which amplifies the microphone so users can hear better when someone is talking to them. This feature offers great help in situations where you might struggle to hear clearly. Well, these existing AirPods Pro features are already comparable to expensive dedicated devices.

In 2022, the FDA released new guidelines and created a new category of hearing aids that can be purchased over the counter. Such hearing aids can be purchased and sold directly without any prescription, medical exam, or fitting by an audiologist. With that in mind, Apple might plan to enter this market with its AirPods Pro.

The specifics of this new iOS 18 feature for AirPods Pro are still under the wraps. Well, this isn’t the first time that Gurman reported about Apple’s plans to bring new health features to its AirPods lineup. Last year, he hinted at a hearing test feature that’s in the works for future AirPods offerings.

Apple has been consistent in offering accessibility features across its Apple ecosystem. With iOS 17, the giant added Personal Voice for people who are at risk of losing their voice or ability to speak. Now, with iOS 18, AirPods Pro users might access advanced functionalities that cater to their hearing needs.

It is not yet clear whether this feature will be available only on second-generation AirPods Pro or on the first-generation as well.

For now, these are just rumors and suggestions. Apple hasn’t made any formal statement or confirmed these changes. We’ll have to wait for some time until the giant declares it. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has already confirmed the much-buzzed Apple’s Generative AI features.

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