Using AirPods As Hearing Aids

A new feature in iOS 12 allows you to use your iPhone's Live Listen feature with Apple's AirPods, a much cheaper alternative than actual medical device hearing aids. The audio comes from the iPhone's microphone, so you can place your iPhone in a better position to hear someone and leave it there. You can even use it as a way to listen in to what is going on in another room.

Comments: 21 Responses to “Using AirPods As Hearing Aids”

    Bob
    12 months ago

    Closely related… tried this using garden variety Bluetooth headphones; it worked great! There is a little latency, maybe 50 or 100mS. Of course, Bluetooth on the phone must be on. Funny, I was just piddling around in my control panel settings last night, and didn’t even notice the new Hearing option. Cool videos, Thanks!

    Steve P
    12 months ago

    Can this work through equalizers? Either Apple/iTunes or one of the sound shaping apps? Or would this add too much latency? Louder and more isolated is good, but IF you actually need hearing aids you usually need a compensation curve. THAT would make this truly useful – even if it didn’t provide the full level of adjustment of a good (6000/pair!) aids. THANKS!

    Martin B.
    12 months ago

    I really wonder whether it’s legal to leave your iPhone in one room and listen in, from another room, on conversation there via AirPods, as suggested. Gary, your changed voice and look on your face in the video even hint that you too might wonder about at least the ethics of it. I suspect that such use of this hardware would turn it, in the eye of the law in most states, into an illegal bugging device. Just raising this for everyone’s good.

    12 months ago

    Martin: In was actually thinking more along the lines of innocent mischief, not something so serious as you suggest. Like kids listening in on siblings and their friends. Also, it could be handy as a makeshift baby monitor. Maybe dad needs to look for something in the car while their child is asleep in a motel room.

    hy mayerson
    12 months ago

    Gary.
    Of course.
    Sometimes we get so afraid of breaking some law, that we hamstring ourselves. We know when we have good intentions.
    Little else is necessary.
    I speak from trying cases x country for 50 years.
    Hy

    Neil
    12 months ago

    Regretfully, this does not work with iphone X using latest IOS 12.01. Could really do with being able to use my Airpods to help with listening

    12 months ago

    Neil: It doesn’t? That’s exactly what I was using for this tutorial. Which part, exactly, isn’t working for you?

    Neil
    12 months ago

    Correction – it does work very well. You need to ensure that the Airpods are connected to iPhone via Bluetooth prior to using the hearing assistant in control panel.
    Another great tip from Gary

    John Vossos
    12 months ago

    Are the Airpods you speak of wireless?

    12 months ago

    John: Yes, Apple’s AirPods are wireless. https://www.apple.com/airpods/

    chuck eisen
    12 months ago

    I tried this with my powerbeats 3 but it did not work.I’m curious if this works with any bluetooth headset/ear buds?

    Steve Kruse
    12 months ago

    Nice article – I didnt Know you could do this. Before I runout and buy the AirPods This is a great solution for my wife who refuses to get hearing aids. In your experience, how much delay is there between the TV talking and hearing the voice? If the mouth on tv is 2 or 3 words ahead of what you are hearing it would drive most people nuts. Thanks in advance!

    12 months ago

    Steve: I don’t know why there would be a delay. I just tried it with my iPhone X, AirPods and the TV and I didn’t notice any delay. Is a delay something common with hearing aid devices?

    cw wats
    12 months ago

    Gary,
    Great information, glad Apple is realizing not all users are 25, seniors love the products too. Thank you thank you.

    Richard Barnsley
    12 months ago

    Tried this with my Costco hearing aids and it works but sounds a bit tinny.

    jasper
    12 months ago

    I think that the answer’s ‘no’, but there’s no way to use this feature to ‘talk to’ devices other than AirPods?

    It would be useful to be able to use an iPhone mike to record your voice onto a MacBook Keynote presentation, for example.

    12 months ago

    Jasper: No, Keynote doesn’t have that. But if your MacBook is there with you, then why do you need to do the recording with the iPhone?

    Jasper Robinson
    12 months ago

    Oh, I can hold the iPhone close to my mouth to get a clear recording during teaching. I need to be quite a distance from the MacBook so audio recording picks up background noise, which reduces the quality

    12 months ago

    Jasper: Oh, I see. You are recording live with an audience. Most people use that function when just alone with their Mac. You could always get an external microphone. There are even some wireless ones if you are that far away — but then you need to be close enough to advance the slides too.

    chuck eisen
    11 months ago

    Gary
    I’m curious why i get an ” unavailable for current route message ” when i follow your video instructions . I’m using power beats in ear head phones .
    any suggestions?
    thanks

    11 months ago

    chuck: Perhaps this feature doesn’t work with those headphones? Impossible for me to guess since I don’t have those to try out.

Comments Closed.