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Study shows AirPods can be used as affordable hearing aids

Hearing aids can cost a ton, but AirPods can do a similar job in a pinch.

2nd generation apple airpods on a purple background
Image: KnowTechie

Premium hearing aids cost thousands of dollars, but a new study shows that Apple’s AirPods could provide a more affordable alternative.

The study, published on Cell.com, questioned whether or not Apple’s AirPods could perform similar duties as dedicated hearing aids.

After all, Apple’s Live Listen feature turns iPhones into microphones that enhance the sound sent to AirPods.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids in the United States. But those can still cost thousands of dollars.

On the other hand, AirPods 2 run $129, and AirPods Pro will set you back $249. The study compared these two models to a couple of professional-grade hearing aids.

airpods in case
Image: Unsplash

One hearing aid was more affordable, at $1,500, while the other was a premium $10,000 device.

Testing with 21 participants with mild to moderate hearing loss, the AirPods held their own. The AirPods 2 performed the worst in the test, but they still helped some users hear better.

The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, were very impressive. In noisy environments, the AirPods Pro performed similarly to the $1,500 hearing aid. That was helped by the built-in noise cancelation on the AirPods Pro.

airpods in ear
Image: Unsplash

However, the AirPods did run into issues with distracting noises coming from in front of the wearer.

The AirPods Pro noise cancelation worked well on eliminating distractions from either side, but the professional hearing aids outperformed the AirPods with distracting sounds coming from the front.

At the end of the day, the dedicated professional-grade hearing aids still outperformed Apple’s AirPods. However, they come with a much steeper price and a social stigma suggesting that hearing aids are only for older people.

AirPods remain much more affordable, and no one will think twice when they see someone wearing them. They’re not going to replace hearing aids completely, but the study shows they can be helpful.

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Contributing writer with a passion for gaming and tech. Probably getting wrecked by some kids in Rocket League.

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