Taipei: Some of Apple’s technology earbuds can help a large number of people with hearing loss by acting as hearing aids.
According to the National Institutes of Health, one in eight people age 12 or older in the United States has hearing loss in both ears. However, professional hearing aids are very expensive and require multiple trips for professionals to set up.
A group of scientists from a university in Taipei tried to see if Apple’s AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro, which cost $129 and $249, respectively, could be used as listening devices. The cost of the high-end hearing aid used in the study is $10,000 and the cost of a simple hearing aid is $1,500.
AirPods Pro have a noise-canceling feature and scientists found that AirPods Pro meet four of the five criteria found in hearing aids. Users have to press and hold the force sensor on both AirPods to enable Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode.
In 2016, Apple introduced a feature called Live Listen that users can use to improve the sound of their wireless headphones and iPhones.
The researchers tested four devices on 21 participants. These participants had mild to moderate hearing loss. The researchers read a short sentence and asked the participants to repeat the sentence.
The AirPods Pro performed better in quiet environments than the simpler devices and slightly lower than the more expensive devices.