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Lubbock ☎ : 806-687-4327 
Snyder ☎ : 325-284-3221

Apple Plans to Introduce ‘Hearing Aid Mode’ in Their Next Update: Here’s What You Should Know

06/13/2024 | Industry News

Even if Apple is doing a hearing test through the AirPods, they aren't looking inside of ears and solving the most basic problems with hearing

While nothing is official at the time of publishing this article, many reputable forums and news outlets have reported that technology giant Apple may be planning to enter the hearing care market in late 2024/early 2025. 

Read on for everything we know at this stage. 

Rumor has it that Apple’s upcoming iOS 18 update will include a new feature called “Hearing Aid Mode.”It is predicted this update will be released in September 2024. The new feature will be focused on enabling Apple AirPods users to use their earbuds as amplifiers for better support in difficult listening situations. Hearing Aid Mode will complement Apple’s previously launched Live Listen (2019) and Conversation Boost (2021) features.  

While nothing has been confirmed yet, Apple will be holding their Worldwide Developers Conference on June 10, where they are expected to release the details of the iOS 18 update. Bloomberg correspondent Mark Gurman has suggested that this might be the “biggest” software update that iPhone users have seen yet. 

It’s also rumored that Apple will release their 3rd generation AirPods Pro in early 2025, which will allow users to get the most benefits from the new Hearing Aid Mode feature.  

What Would Motivate Apple to Release This Feature? 

In just five years, the number of 65+ year olds in the US will increase from 19 million individuals to an estimated 70 million. This is due to the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age.  

According to a study conducted in 2023, only 23 percent of baby boomers are iPhone users, while 55 percent of this demographic are Android users. With this release, Apple may be able to take the market share from their competitor.  

This appears to be a strategic move on Apple’s part, as they already dominate the earphone market with their AirPods. 

What Can You Expect from Hearing Aid Mode? 

There are many apps available in the Apple App Store that enable you to use your AirPods as sound amplifiers. These apps take the sounds that they can pick up from your microphone and amplify them into your ears.  

We expect that Hearing Aid Mode combined with the new AirPods Pro will offer more sophisticated features. 

Based on speculation, Apple may roll out features that will allow you to self-assess your hearing as well as help you hear better in challenging listening situations.  

We will be watching Apple’s June 10 conference and will share any updates that we learn here on this blog for you. 

How Will This Impact Hearing Care in the US? 

To understand how this will impact hearing care’s future, we must look to the past. In August 2022, after the FDA finalized regulations for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, large tech brands like Sony and Jabra quickly launched their own OTC devices. 

The media and advertisements caused confusion around these launches by announcing that “affordable hearing aids had arrived,” and many individuals rushed to purchase them. However, many people discovered that these OTC devices did not meet their needs or expectations and opted to seek a prescription solution. 

A Major Concern 

We are concerned that people could be led to believe that Apple AirPods and Hearing Aid Mode will be as powerful as prescription hearing technology and professional hearing care. This is simply not the case. 

Hearing aids are customized medical devices to improve diagnosed hearing loss, while AirPods are a short-term solution for situational concerns. 

Don’t get us wrong – AirPods are amazing! However, it is still in the patient’s best interest to take a full diagnostic hearing test, including an otoscopy and tympanometry to rule out middle ear fluid, earwax, or any other hearing loss problems. Even if Apple is doing a hearing test through the AirPods, they aren’t looking inside of ears and solving the most basic problems with hearing.  

The Positives 

On a positive note, Apple is one of the coolest tech companies in the world. This launch will restart the conversation around hearing loss, which is always a good thing! 

We love to see that treating hearing loss is becoming more common. It’s no longer only for elderly folks! It’s time to break the outdated stigma around hearing loss and hearing devices.

Apple’s update could help AirPod users communicate better and may serve as an initial step for many people seeking a long-term solution to hearing loss. 

What Happens Next? 

We will continue to monitor this news closely and will keep you informed through this blog as we receive updates. 

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to schedule an appointment, you can reach our office at (806) 687-4327.

Or request a callback and a member of our team will be in touch. 

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Dr. Julie Hubik, Au.D., CCC-A - Doctor of Audiology & CEO

Dr. Hubik is the owner and founder of one of West Texas' most trusted and professional hearing providers, Cornerstone Audiology. She received her bachelor of science degree in communication disorders as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). In her youth, Dr. Hubik became interested in helping people with a hearing loss to communicate more effectively and therefore pursued a degree in this field. Dr. Hubik was born and raised in Anton, Texas, and appreciates working with the people of West Texas. She and her team are proud to serve the hearing needs of their community.

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