In the USA, one in eight people from the age of twelve going up experience hearing loss problems, mostly in both ears. Hearing problems occur when your ears hear a sound but your brain cannot process this sound in any way. This is a concerning problem, but the bigger issue is the cost of hearing aids for the correction of the hearing loss problem.
Hearing aids cost as high as $10,000 and the cheap ones go for $1500 in most cases. And then there’s also the matter of tuning the aids to the right frequency. This will mean several visitations to an audiologist and that in itself is also costly.
A recent study conducted by a certain group of scientists has found that Apple AirPods can function well as any other hearing aid. It is a fascinating discovery and one that will help most deaf people regain some of their hearing abilities at a cheaper price.
What is an Apple Airpod?
Airpods are a type of wireless Bluetooth earbuds, created by the popular tech company, Apple. There is the first generation Airpods, which were released in the year 2016 together with iPhone 7. The second generation was released in March 2019 and the most recent ones were released in October of this year, 2022.
Airpods pro is what is called the second generation and it is a reinvention and an improved version of first Generation Airpods.
Which type of earbuds can do this?
It’s not all of the earbuds by Apple that can work as hearing aids. The scientists who worked on this project singled out Apple Airpods pro and Airpods 2. They have since verified that these two can double as hearing aids as well as their normal function as created by Apple.
The difference between the two Airpod versions among others is that Airpods Pro comes with a noise cancellation feature while Airpods 2 does not.
Back in 2016, Apple introduced a “Live listen” feature that allows users to use iPhones and Airpods for sound amplification.
With this, the Airpods work like personal sound amplification that is used for persons with normal hearing abilities. Personal sound amplification devices are wireless devices that can be used during bird watching, hunting, or even something as simple as movie watching. The name itself is self-explanatory. They are devices that increase sound going into a user’s ears. They might be called hearing aids but they’re not hearing aids per se.
Sound amplification devices do not fix hearing loss. If anything if you use them Instead of using hearing aids, your hearing does nothing but worsen. That is because they were designed to make all sounds louder, and hearing problems are more than just failure to hear at a quieter range. It is more complicated than that, and so is treating it.
This is how Live stream works. First, you go to your iPhone’s settings after connecting with your Airpods, then you select control center, right down to where there is an option written “hearing.”
Scientists working on this helpful discovery worked with four different earbuds and tested them on 21 participants whose hearing loss problems ranged from mild to moderate.
These scientists are from Taipei, Taiwan from the Taipei veterans hospital. The participants were asked to repeat what they’d heard while wearing the Airpods. Amongst the four, Airpods 2 ranked the lowest, but its performance could not be chalked off as bad. Compared to wearing no hearing aids, the earbuds managed to convey sound to the participants.
The star performer was the Airpods pro of course, which managed to work uncannily similar to basic hearing aids. Even though they were slightly far from performing with five stars as a basic hearing aid can, they did a spectacular job in a quiet environment. Out of five, Airpods pro was worked to a 4 on the technological standards for hearing aids. Amazing, right?
After scrutiny, it realized that the Apple Airpods pro performed so much better than Airpods 2 because of its noise cancellation feature.
How they switched an Airpod to a hearing aid
All you have to do is press and hold the force sensor on either Airpods. That makes the switch from active noise cancellation and transparency mode, which is the feature responsible for bringing sound in.
One of the scientists explained that it may also relate to the trajectories sound waves travel with, as properly as the superior sign processing algorithm through top-rate hearing aids. He further explained that this discovery will with any luck inspire engineers to graph listening to aids and private sound amplification merchandise that are greater sensitive in certain directions.
Why are hearing aids so expensive?
Hearing aids are expensive. That much is true. But there are reasons why they may be this costly and let’s look at them. First of all, manufacturers sell hearing aids at different prices in any part of the world. That means that the price in Canada will differ from the price in the United States of America.
Secondly, government funding for hearing aids is what might make them expensive. The government cannot inject enough money to cover all the costs.
It needs to be said that if you have a hearing problem, don’t go straight for the Airpods without your doctor’s approval. The process of making them work as hearing aids has just been discovered right now, following some companies’ interest in making earbuds with sound amplification features. This discovery is what was needed to prove that this theory is plausible.
Get the hearing loss you are experiencing looked at by a professional because leaving it untreated will also bring more unanticipated problems.
When the Airpods have been tuned to perfection and are ready to work as earbuds for listening to music, noise cancellation, and also hearing aids, they will be a huge help to those that have hearing problems but cannot afford medically approved hearing aids.