AirPods Pro Could Get Hearing Aid Mode in iOS 18

AirPods Pro Hearing Aid Mode

Apple is gearing up to introduce a new accessibility feature that might change the game for AirPod Pro users. In his latest edition of the Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman states that Apple AirPods Pro won’t see any hardware changes in 2024. Instead, AirPods Pro will get a new hearing aid mode alongside iOS 18. 

In 2018, Apple introduced a feature called Live Listen to the AirPods as part of iOS 12. This feature effectively converts an iPhone into a directional microphone, sending sounds captured by the iPhone to AirPods in real-time. Over the years, we’ve heard a few user testimonies stating how valuable this feature can be.

In 2021, Apple added a Conversation Boost feature to AirPods Pro that improves mic pickup from right in front of you, allowing you to hear someone speaking to you more clearly. A 2022 study found that some AirPods Pro features are comparable to more expensive dedicated devices.

Besides this, in 2022, the FDA issued new criteria allowing users to buy a type of hearing aid over the counter. This category includes hearing aids that can be sold directly to customers in stores or online without requiring a medical evaluation or an audiologist fitting.

However, more information on this new iOS 18 capability for AirPods Pro owners is still under wraps. Anyway, this isn’t the first time we have heard about such a feature. Gurman previously reported on Apple’s plans to add new hearing health capabilities to AirPods. Last year, he stated that Apple is developing a hearing test capability for future AirPods.

Rumor mills suggest that Apple’s iOS 18 will be the biggest software upgrade in iPhone history. Moreover, iOS 18, likely to make a debut at WWDC 2024, could be Apple’s major facelift update after iOS 7 in 2013.


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