While many people with hearing loss turn to traditional technologies (such as hearing aids), many are seeking to use emerging technology such as Apple’s AirPods as a replacement. With Apple’s new Headphone Accommodations in Transparency Mode as part of their recent AirPods Pro firmware update, they claim that AirPods now provide some functionality of a standard hearing aid.
This has caused many to consider using their AirPods as a replacement to their hearing aids. They now provide personalized amplification and noise reduction, making it easier for those with hearing issues to hear the noises that surround them.
AirPods Replacing Hearing Aids?
However, your AirPods cannot replace your traditional hearing aids, especially for those suffering from more severe hearing loss. Transparency mode does allow users to pair their AirPods with an audiogram to create a unique auditory profile. This can enable the device to amplify certain noises that may have been previously inaudible to someone with hearing loss.
But, a few drawbacks prevent AirPods from being a suitable replacement for your hearing aids. Primarily, their 4.5 hour battery life can leave you high and dry at the end of the day when you might need to hear. Also, they are unable to amplify higher-pitched noises in the same way that traditional hearing aids can.
Also, AirPods have been shown to offer very little noise isolation. They often have difficulty overpowering noises like people talking in the background or noise coming from around you in public transportation.
Some studies have even found that AirPods can actually be bad for your hearing. A recent study found that people typically listen to their earbuds at a rate that is 13 decibels higher than background noise. This constant exposure to high-decibel noise can have a negative effect on your hearing.
Hearing Loss in Younger People
Younger people have been complaining of hearing loss at a much higher rater than in previous years, which has professionals worried. According to the American Osteopathic Association, about one in five teens have some sort of hearing damage. This is a rate that is 30 percent higher than it was 20 years ago.
The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that over “1 billion young people” are at risk of hearing loss. They estimate that this hearing loss primarily comes from listening to music on headphones or earbuds.
AirPods are neither FDA approved nor registered. However, they do offer some basic hearing assistance. AirPods utilize a unique feature called Live Listen that uses your iPhone as a microphone. This feature helps you focus your hearing, essentially blocking out background noise and ambient conversation to hear the sounds you want to hear.
If you have hearing loss where you have difficulty hearing certain noises in a crowded environment, this may be a good feature for you. However, this feature cannot replace a hearing aid.
Hearing aids are so valuable to those with hearing loss because they cater to your unique hearing loss, ear anatomy, and needs. An appointment with an audiologist can help you determine what sort of hearing loss you have through a quick hearing test. Then, your audiologist can help pick out (or make) a hearing aid that suits your particular hearing loss.
Severe Hearing Loss
While AirPods may assist some people with hearing loss, they are not unique to particular types of hearing loss. Getting the correct equipment to treat your hearing loss is ever more critical for those with more severe hearing loss. Those with severe hearing loss that is not correctly treated are at much greater risk for dementia.
The newer digital technology available for hearing aids supplies a lot of clarity (less strain and more clear hearing). Many professional hearing aids now offer improved ease in listening environments (watching television, one-on-one conversations).
Other technological advancements in hearing aids, such as twin microphones, can vastly improve the way you hear and can help to localize your hearing. As hearing aid technology continues to advance, more and more features can be found on most brands of hearing aids.
Hearing aids are also known to contain an adjustment period for the wearer. While this can sometimes be annoying, it is necessary to ensure that your hearing aids are correctly tailored to your particular hearing. With AirPods, you are getting a cookie-cutter solution to a unique problem.
If you have difficulty hearing, it is vital to seek professional help. Something as simple as a quick hearing evaluation can be the difference between getting on the path to healthy hearing or delving further into the scary world of hearing impairment.
Visit a hearing professional today, and taking a hearing evaluation is the first step towards finding a permanent solution to what is usually a permanent problem. If you live in the Las Vegas area, consider using Hearing Associates of Las Vegas for all your professional hearing needs.