AirPods Pro are well-known to be quality earbuds. Dr. Ben Thompson shows off their viability to be used as affordable hearing aids for those on a budget.
The Mimi Hearing Test
To begin, consider taking a hearing test through the Mimi Hearing Test iOS app. If you have hearing loss, your results will indicate the degree of hearing loss for various pitch ranges, which can then be plugged into your iPhone’s settings.
To take the Mimi Hearing Test, open the app and follow the instructions. You’ll have to hold the phone button, listen to a set of sounds, and then release the button after the last sound. You will then follow these steps for your other ear.
AirPods Pro: Set-Up
Once you have your hearing test results, you can then open the Health app on your iPhone, go to the Hearing category, and then plug in your results under Audiogram Data.
After completing this, you will then want to open up the Settings app, select Accessibility, and then open up your AirPods. You will be prompted with a screen that gives you the option for Audio Accessibility.
Here you’ll turn Headphone Accommodations on. With Headphone Accommodations toggled on, you’ll be able to use your AirPods Pro as hearing aids.
AirPods Pro: Amplification Settings
If you go to Audio Accessibility settings, and then Headphone Accommodations, you’ll see various amplification options, which will affect how much sound you’ll be hearing from your environment. You can choose between slight amplification, moderate amplification, or strong amplification. You can also take a quick test within the Headphone Accommodations setting to determine your amplification levels, based on your volume preferences for speech and music.
AirPods Pro: Transparency Mode
A recent upgrade to Apple’s iOS involves the inclusion of something called “Transparency Mode.” If you toggle Transparency Mode, you will be able to hear any audio streaming through the AirPods Pro in addition to amplified sounds from the environment.
AirPods Pro: Hearing Aid Functions
With the AirPods Pro, you have the ability to change between transparency mode and other modes, or you can even turn transparency mode off completely. In the control center panel, you can also activate the ear icon in order to get direct access for amplification.
By selecting the ear icon, you can adjust the volume of sounds in your environment as they’re coming in through your AirPods Pro. You can also control tone brightness, enabling you to provide any necessary boosts or amplification to higher pitched tones.
Many tinnitus patients have hearing loss in the higher frequencies (formally known as high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss). Thus, most patients prefer their sound therapy to include high-pitched tones.
In my testing of the AirPods Pro, I streamed various tinnitus sound therapy playlists through Spotify. I found the AirPodsPro properly replicate a sound-rich environment, which is a classical form of treatment recommended by Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and Progressive Tinnitus Management (the two most robust tinnitus management protocols).
Along with the previously discussed amplification settings and transparency mode, the Airpods Pro were able to replicate the performance of most hearing aids, and would be beneficial to tinnitus patients who have hearing loss and need sound therapy and/or environment amplification.
What To Do Next For Hearing Loss
Finding the right hearing aids can be a process. At Treble Health, we have compiled a consumer guide that explains the pros and cons of the best hearing aids on the market. Click here to get the free Hearing Aids in 2022: Consumer Guide.
Want to speak with an expert audiologist about hearing aids instead? At the tap of a finger, you can schedule a free Hear From Home™ telehealth consultation today! You’ll be connected with a real audiologist, not a salesperson, and there is no obligation or commitment.