Apple’s AirPods Pro earbuds can potentially act as hearing aids for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss, a new study published in the journal iScience revealed. The study was conducted by researchers from the Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan. Experts looked at 21 participants with mild to moderate hearing loss and tested a variety of hearing aids. These included premium and basic hearing aids and AirPods Pro earbuds and Airpods 2.
For the study, the AirPods were paired with an iPhone with the environmental noise amplifier app dubbed ‘Live Listen’ running. The participants were asked to wear the devices and listen to short sentences read by researchers. After that, they had to repeat the statement verbatim.
The researchers found that the AirPods 2 performed similarly well to basic hearing aids in quiet environments. In noisier environments, the AirPods Pro – which have a built-in noise cancelling feature – had comparable performance to the premium hearing aid – specifically when the noises came from the side of the participant. However, when the noises came from the front of the participants, both AirPods models failed to help participants hear better.