AirPods Pro, convincing alternatives to hearing aids?
A study shows, with numbers, that by activating features like Live Listen and Conversation Boost, AirPods perform almost as well as medical hearing aids.
Many children, adolescents and adults are affected by hearing problems. These can have several causes but in general the treatment is the same: patients can wear hearing aids. Devices that are generally very expensive, and whose design is sometimes questionable – which only amplify surrounding sounds so that the wearer can recover their hearing.
The problem is that these devices are usually quite limited. Some offer a bluetooth connection which allows for example to connect them to the smartphone. But arguably nothing is as convenient and flexible in this regard as AirPods with an iPhone. However, a study seems to show that the AirPods Pro deliver, with the right configuration, performances similar to the most advanced hearing aids.
What if AirPods Pro made deafness go incognito?
Between their iconic style, the ultimately quite reasonable price compared to medical devices, their charging system, their simplified pairing, and access to accessibility features, the AirPods Pro could certainly, if these results are confirmed, find their way into the medical field. It must be said that Apple has thought about disability from the start – and even attempted to obtain certification from the US FDA.
Unfortunately, however, the agency felt that the headphones did not meet the standards necessary to be prescribed as a hearing aid. And yet, as the study published in the journal iScience shows, they could be quite adequate in the management of mild to moderate hearing loss problems in adults.
Lab tests show AirPods wearers with deafness can hear conversations better than two other devices prescribed by doctors – when accessibility features are active. According to the researchers, beyond the question of having these kinds of alternatives approved, it is possible to advise people on the path to deafness to use these headphones so as to have a glimpse of the benefits. what real hearing aids could bring them.
In detail, the researchers based their study on a sample of 21 people and configured AirPods Pro as well as AirPods 2 with Live Listen functionality. One control group wore entry-level hearing aids while another wore premium hearing aids. The AirPods Pro reached the level of high-end hearing aids over 10,000 euros in 4 of the 5 categories tested.
The open-design AirPods 2 were far from these results, but still have everything even had a correct score in two of the five categories studied.