Apple’s AirPods have become increasingly popular since their launch in 2016. These wireless earphones, along with the more advanced AirPods Pro, are now considered great accessories for users looking for high-quality sound and convenience. However, recent reports suggest that the tech giant may be looking to upgrade its AirPods line with health features, specifically those related to hearing.
Apple’s AirPods expected to offer biometric monitoring and enhanced hearing health features in the near future
According to Mark Gurman’s “Power On” newsletter for Bloomberg, Apple is planning to make AirPods “become a health tool in the next year or two.” This could include offering enhanced hearing health features. Gurman’s comments suggest that the new features would be a natural extension of what the Apple Watch already offers to users, but with the potential to go beyond what is currently available.
Apple has already filed patents for biometric sensing capabilities in an AirPods package, including using the ear and a photoplethysmograph (PPG) sensor to monitor the heart rate and characterize blood flow in the ear’s skin. The patents also suggest the possibility of an electrocardiogram sensor, impedance cardiography, galvanic skin response, VO2 sensing, and thermometers included in the device.
Some patents date back to 2014, indicating that Apple has been exploring the possibility of monitoring the heart rate, temperature, and perspiration of a headphone user for several years. In 2018, the company also filed patents for a more secure fit for AirPods, which would enable better contact with the skin and potentially improve the accuracy of biometric readings.
On the hearing health side, Apple already provides some capabilities, including Live Listen, which enhances a user’s hearing by picking up audio from an iPhone. Meanwhile, Conversation Boost in AirPods Pro is an assistive technology that makes it easier to hear nearby conversations.
However, it’s worth noting that neither of these features are approved by the FDA or qualified as a replacement for a hearing aid. But some have suggested that AirPods could be a cheap first step towards accepting the need to wear a hearing aid. As a result, Apple is believed to be working to make these and other similar benefits more “official” in the future.
In conclusion, Apple’s AirPods may become a more useful tool in helping users stay healthy, with the possibility of enhanced hearing health features in the near future. Although these features are not yet FDA-approved or qualified as hearing aids, they could serve as an important first step in helping users address hearing issues. Apple’s efforts in this area highlight the potential for technology to enhance our health and well-being in new and innovative ways.