Apple AirPods Pro may be used as a hearing-aid device: Study

Apple has always promoted AirPods as a device that offers seamless music and calling experience. The Cupertino-giant didn’t design its earbuds to cater for any medical situation. However, a recent study claims that Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAP) like Apple’s AirPods Pro can help people with hearing disabilities. According to a study published in the journal iScience, AirPods Pro can be used as prescribed hearing aids that usually cost much more than earbuds.
Apple AirPods medical study: Details
The study has also revealed that some audio devices from Apple can assist users with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. This study was conducted by researchers from the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan’s National Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University and other entities. The study helped the researchers to compare the hearing performances of different hearing assistive devices (which included — AirPods 2, AirPods Pro and hearing aids) among adults.
How was the study conducted
Researchers conducted the study with 21 individuals who had no prior experience using a hearing aid. For this study, researchers connected the iPhone XS Max smartphones running iOS version 13.0 with AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro. Then, the experts analysed and compared the hearing performance of the hearing aids and AirPods.
Other electroacoustic features that are available on hearing aids including — frequency response bandwidth/smoothness, maximum output sound pressure level at 90 dB and more were also compared with the ones that the AirPods offer.

The study discovered that Apple’s AirPods Pro comes with most of the features required in a hearing aid while AirPods 2 only includes only a few of those features.
The results of the study concluded that AirPods Pro can be considered a fitting alternative for hearing aid devices for people who have mild-to-moderate hearing problems as both offers nearly the same performance. Meanwhile, the same can’t be stated for the AirPods 2 as it is not capable to be a replacement for hearing aid devices.
Hearing aid devices vs Apple AirPods Pro
For a better hearing experience, hearing aid devices are the best options. But these devices often require a medical prescription and are usually available at higher prices.

On the other hand, products like AirPods Pro are more easily available and can be purchased at a reasonable price. Customers don’t need a medical document for buying AirPods to help them with better hearing.
The study didn’t explain how using AirPods Pro can counter the social stigma associated with using hearing aid devices. However, it is important to note that AirPods don’t meet the regulatory standards it needs to work as hearing aids.

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