Can you use AirPods Pro as a Hearing Aid?

Yes, you can set up Airpods pro as hearing aids. Let me explain to you how I did it.

To start, I took a hearing test through the Mimi Hearing Test app on my iPhone, and that showed that my test result was within the normal range. If you have a hearing loss, then your test would indicate the degree of loss for different pitch ranges. Then you can actually plug the hearing test result into your iPhone. 

To take the Mimi hearing test, open the app and follow the instructions. You’ll have to hold the phone button, listen for the beeps, and then release the button when you stop hearing the sound. You do this for both ears, and that’s how you get your hearing test results. My test result came back in the normal range, meaning I have no hearing loss that would come through on a test. 

Dr. Thompson explains how to setup Airpods Pro to help hearing loss and tinnitus.

Now you can save the test into the Health function of your iPhone. And if you open that Health function, you’ll have the option to go down to Hearing, where you can choose Audiogram Data. 

If your Mimi Hearing Test results show that you have a degree of hearing loss, then you can plug it into the Health app under the Audiogram tab to access the AirPods hearing aid features. 

Open up the Settings app, then press Accessibility. After that you will open up AirPods, and you’ll see a screen that gives you the option to press Audio Accessibility. 

Here you’ll turn Headphone Accommodations on. When Headphone Accommodations is on, that means that your AirPods Pro devices are going to be used as hearing aids. 

Airpods Pro: Transparency Mode Hearing Aid

If you press the Audio Accessibility settings, and then Headphone Accommodations, you’ll see some options for how strong you want to set the amplification. You can also take a quick test within the Headphone Accommodations to set the levels for you, based on your preferences for volume of speech and volume of music. 

Within Headphone Accommodations, you can choose slight amplification, moderate amplification or strong amplification. This means that you’ll be hearing more or less sound from your environment. 

In the Transparency mode, you will hear audio streaming through the AirPods Pro, as well as hearing the sound in the environment, which would be an amplification function. 

That’s the major upgrade with this system for hearing, that you can now hear environmental sounds louder. For someone who needs some hearing help, this is really important. 

Airpods Hearing Aid App Functions

From the bottom screen, you can hold on to AirPods Pro to change between transparency and other modes, or you can turn transparency mode off. You can also activate the ear icon to get direct access for amplification. 

With the ear icon, you can adjust the volume of the sounds in your environment while they’re coming in through your AirPods Pro. You can also make the tone brighter, which means it will provide more boost or amplification for the higher-pitch tones. 

For most people with tinnitus, if they had a hearing loss it would be in the high-pitch tones. This is also called high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. Most sound therapy that people find relaxing is also in the high-pitch tones. 

Once all that setup was completed in the iPhone, I opened up Spotify, which I use to stream a lot of music, and searched for some different tinnitus sound therapy playlists. 

I tested what it’s like to hear the sound therapy streaming straight to my AirPods Pro, as well as the environmental sounds through the transparency mode of the AirPods. 

With amplification and transparency mode, the Airpods were set up pretty similarly to hearing aids. For someone who has hearing loss and needs sound therapy, they want the amplification of the environment because it will reduce the tinnitus perception. 

This creates a sound-rich environment, which is classically recommended in Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and Progressive Tinnitus Management, the two most robust audiology protocols for treating tinnitus. 

From the home screen, I can click the gear icon and change transparency mode: turning it on, which will mean hearing my environment, or turning it off, which would mean reducing the microphone feature coming in from the hearing aids. 

I can adjust the amplification of the sound through my iPhone, and that means I’m going to hear more of the environment. So if I’m having trouble hearing someone, that would be really beneficial. Also, if I just want to increase my hearing of the environment, then that would help my tinnitus. Of course, you need to adjust this based on your own needs.

Dr. Ben Thompson, Au.D.

Dr. Ben Thompson, Au.D.

Dr. Ben Thompson is an audiologist in California and founder of Pure Tinnitus. Dr. Thompson has a comprehensive knowledge of tinnitus management. He completed his residency at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and is a past board member of the California Academy of Audiology. Via telehealth, Dr. Thompson provides services to patients with hearing loss and tinnitus.

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