AirPods Pro to double as hearing aids with iOS 18 update

According to a new report, Apple’s AirPods Pro will soon double as hearing aids, thanks to a new “hearing aid mode” set to debut with the release of iOS 18 later this year.

Second-generation AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro to get hearing boost without new hardware

In the latest edition of his “Power On” newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman revealed that Apple is doubling down on software improvements for its AirPods Pro lineup in 2024. While no significant hardware changes are expected, the introduction of a “hearing aid mode” stands out as a notable enhancement.

This move builds upon Apple’s previous efforts to enhance the accessibility features of its AirPods. Features like Live Listen, introduced with iOS 12 in 2018, and Conversation Boost, added in 2021, have already showcased Apple’s commitment to addressing users’ hearing health needs.

AirPods- Conversation Boost

The specifics of the new “hearing aid mode” remain undisclosed, but speculation suggests that it will leverage the AirPods Pro’s existing capabilities to offer a more robust hearing assistance experience. This could potentially include advanced sound amplification features and customized settings tailored to users’ specific hearing requirements.

One key aspect of this development is how Apple navigates regulatory requirements, particularly those set by the FDA. While traditional hearing aids are tightly regulated medical devices, recent changes have allowed for over-the-counter options like Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs). It remains to be seen whether Apple’s “hearing aid mode” will fall under these regulations or require separate FDA approval.

The potential impact of AirPods Pro serving as hearing aids is significant. Traditional hearing aids can be prohibitively expensive, with prices often reaching thousands of dollars. By integrating advanced hearing assistance features into AirPods Pro, Apple could democratize access to hearing health solutions, making them more accessible and affordable for a broader audience.

iOS 18 to introduce new accessibility features

Beyond the recently rumored hearing aid functionality, iOS 18 is set to promise new accessibility features designed to empower individuals with disabilities

One such advancement is Adaptive Voice Shortcuts. This feature allows users to personalize their interaction with the device by creating custom voice commands. Imagine simply speaking a phrase to activate specific accessibility settings, eliminating the need to navigate through menus. This streamlines the process and provides a quicker, more intuitive way to control accessibility functions.

Furthermore, iOS 18 elevates the existing Live Speech feature, which transcribes spoken words into text. Users will gain the ability to organize frequently used phrases into custom categories. This improved organization simplifies information retrieval and ensures users can find specific details with greater ease.


Expanding on accessibility options, iOS 18 might introduce broader text size control across a wider range of applications. This caters to users with visual impairments or preferences for larger fonts, ensuring a more comfortable reading experience. Text adjustments wouldn’t be limited to specific apps, allowing users to personalize the display across the entire system.

Finally, rumors swirl around the potential inclusion of eye-tracking technology in iOS 18. This would be a groundbreaking development, particularly for users with mobility limitations. Imagine controlling device functions through eye movements—selecting options or even typing with just your eyes! While this feature remains in the realm of speculation, it hints at the transformative potential that future iOS updates might hold.

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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