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Gurman: New iPads still coming, AirPods Pro 2 to get hearing aid mode

Gurman: New iPads still coming, AirPods Pro 2 to get hearing aid mode

Introduction

Apple's AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro 2 have caused quite a stir in the tech world, especially with the recent news that AirPods Pro 2 will be getting a hearing aid mode. Many individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss have turned to these devices for assistance, and the results have been surprising. In this blog, we will explore the background of Apple's AirPods Pro and the new AirPods Pro 2, as well as the potential impact of the hearing aid mode.

Background on Apple's AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro 2

Apple's AirPods Pro, released in 2019, were a game-changer in the wireless earbud market. With features like active noise cancellation and a customizable fit, they quickly became popular among tech enthusiasts and individuals looking for a high-quality audio experience. In 2021, Apple released the AirPods Pro 2, which boasted improved features and a new H2 chip for enhanced performance.

One of the most intriguing features of the AirPods Pro 2 is the addition of a hearing aid mode, allowing users to customize the device to assist with mild to moderate hearing loss. This move has raised questions about the intersection of consumer electronics and healthcare technology, as well as the potential impact on the traditional hearing aid industry.

As Apple continues to innovate and expand the capabilities of its AirPods line, it will be interesting to see how the integration of hearing aid technology influences the perception and adoption of these popular wireless earbuds.

Comparison of Features

When comparing the Apple AirPods Pro and the new AirPods Pro 2, there are several key features to consider:

Chipset and Performance

The AirPods Pro 2 is equipped with a new H2 chip, providing enhanced performance, better active noise cancellation, and improved acoustics compared to the H1 chip in the AirPods Pro. This upgrade ensures a more seamless and efficient user experience with the new model.

Battery Life

The AirPods Pro 2 offers an extended battery life of six hours compared to the four and a half hours of the AirPods Pro. This improvement allows for longer usage and less frequent charging, making it more convenient for users, especially those utilizing the hearing aid mode throughout the day.

Customizable Fit

The AirPods Pro 2 includes an extra small earbud tip, providing a wider range of size options to accommodate different ear canal shapes and sizes. This addition enhances the overall comfort and fit for users, ensuring a more secure and personalized experience.

Hearing Aid Mode

Both the AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro 2 offer a hearing aid mode, allowing users to customize the device to assist with mild to moderate hearing loss. This innovative feature has proven to be beneficial for individuals seeking an alternative to traditional hearing aids, providing improved accessibility and functionality.

Physical Fit and Comfort

When it comes to physical fit and comfort, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 excels in providing an ergonomic and enjoyable experience for users:

Earbud Size Options

The addition of an extra small earbud tip in the AirPods Pro 2 expands the range of size options, catering to individuals with smaller ear canals. This enhancement ensures a more secure and comfortable fit, minimizing any discomfort or fit issues experienced with the previous model.

Battery Life

The extended battery life of six hours in the AirPods Pro 2 allows for prolonged usage without the need for frequent recharging. This improved battery performance contributes to a more convenient and uninterrupted user experience, especially for individuals utilizing the device as a hearing aid throughout the day.

Overall Comfort

From a comfort standpoint, the AirPods Pro 2 offers one of the most comfortable earbud experiences, with users reporting the ability to wear them all day long without discomfort or fatigue. The ergonomic design and customizable fit contribute to an overall pleasant and enjoyable wearability.

Battery Life and Cost

The battery life and cost of the AirPods Pro 2 are important considerations for users, especially those utilizing them as hearing aids. Here's a breakdown of the battery life and cost comparison:

Battery Life

The AirPods Pro 2 offer an extended battery life of six hours compared to the four and a half hours of the AirPods Pro. This improvement allows for longer usage and less frequent charging, making it more convenient for users, especially those utilizing the hearing aid mode throughout the day.

Cost

At only $249 for a pair of Apple AirPods Pro 2, they offer a cost-effective solution for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. In fact, users could purchase two pairs of AirPods Pro 2 and still spend less money than they would for a decent pair of over-the-counter hearing aids, which typically cost around a thousand dollars.

How to Turn AirPods Pro 2 into Hearing Aids

Turning AirPods Pro 2 into hearing aids involves a few specific steps to customize the device to assist with mild to moderate hearing loss. Here's a guide on how to enable the hearing aid mode:

Pairing and Audiogram Upload

First, pair the AirPods Pro 2 with an Apple iPhone, as this is necessary to enable the headphone accommodations that turn the AirPods into hearing aids. Then, upload a professional audiogram thresholds into the iPhone or download the Mimi Hearing app and take a hearing test that will upload automatically.

Custom Audio Setup

After pairing and audiogram upload, navigate to settings, accessibility, audio visual headphone accommodations, and custom audio setup. From there, you can customize transparency mode, overall amplification levels, transparency balance between left and right AirPods, tone controls, and ambient noise reduction.

Real Measurement and Customization

To ensure optimal settings, it's essential to perform real measurements with the AirPods Pro 2, using tools to measure amplification, directionality, noise reduction, compression, conversation boost, and ambient noise reduction. Customizing the settings based on individual hearing needs is crucial for the best results.

Testing and Measurement of AirPods Pro 2

Dr. Gurman conducted a detailed review of the AirPods Pro and the new AirPods Pro 2, specifically focusing on their ability to function as hearing aids for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. Using probe microphone tubes, he measured the amplification, directionality, noise reduction, compression, conversation boost, and ambient noise reduction capabilities of the AirPods Pro 2 to assess their effectiveness as hearing aids.

Pairing and Audiogram Upload

To enable the hearing aid mode, users need to pair the AirPods Pro 2 with an Apple iPhone and upload a professional audiogram threshold into the iPhone. Alternatively, users can download the Mimi Hearing app and take a hearing test that will upload automatically.

Custom Audio Setup

After pairing and audiogram upload, users can customize transparency mode, overall amplification levels, transparency balance between left and right AirPods, tone controls, and ambient noise reduction in the settings menu. These customizations are essential for optimal hearing aid performance.

Real Measurement and Customization

To ensure optimal settings, Dr. Gurman measured amplification, directionality, noise reduction, compression, conversation boost, and ambient noise reduction using tools. Customizing the settings based on individual hearing needs is crucial for the best results.

Comparison with Prescription Hearing Aids

Dr. Gurman compared the optimal settings of the AirPods Pro 2 with a prescription hearing aid and found that while the AirPods Pro 2 settings were respectable, prescription hearing aids still did a better job of matching prescriptive targets for optimizing the ability to hear for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. However, he noted that the AirPods Pro 2 could still provide benefit for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss as a more affordable and accessible option.

Bluetooth Stability

The AirPods Pro 2 outperformed prescription hearing aids in terms of Bluetooth stability, providing a more stable connection between the device and the smartphone, making them a reliable option for individuals who rely on Bluetooth connectivity for their hearing aid devices.

Live Listen Features

Users can utilize the Live Listen feature to turn their iPhone into a remote microphone, providing additional functionality and versatility in different listening environments.

Other Features and Functions

Aside from the hearing aid mode, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 come with several other features and functions that make them a versatile and convenient choice for users:

Bluetooth Stability

The AirPods Pro 2 outperform prescription hearing aids in terms of Bluetooth stability, providing a reliable and stable connection with smartphones. This makes them an ideal option for individuals who depend on Bluetooth connectivity for their hearing aid devices.

Live Listen Features

Users can utilize the Live Listen feature to turn their iPhone into a remote microphone, offering additional functionality and versatility in different listening environments. This feature enhances the overall user experience and provides greater customization.

Custom Audio Setup

The AirPods Pro 2 allow for custom audio setup, enabling users to adjust transparency mode, overall amplification levels, transparency balance between left and right AirPods, tone controls, and ambient noise reduction. This customization ensures personalized and optimal performance based on individual hearing needs.

Conclusion

After Dr. Gurman's detailed review of the Apple AirPods Pro and the new AirPods Pro 2, it is evident that these devices offer a range of innovative features and functionalities. While they may not match the performance of prescription hearing aids, the AirPods Pro 2 provide a cost-effective and accessible option for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. The addition of the hearing aid mode, coupled with customizable audio settings, Bluetooth stability, and live listen features, make the AirPods Pro 2 a compelling choice for those seeking an alternative to traditional hearing aids. As technology continues to intersect with healthcare, it will be interesting to see how these advancements shape the landscape of hearing assistance and accessibility.

FAQ

1. Are the AirPods Pro 2 considered over-the-counter hearing aids?

No, the AirPods Pro 2 are not classified as over-the-counter hearing aids. They offer hearing aid capabilities but do not fall under the regulatory guidelines for over-the-counter hearing aids.

2. How do the AirPods Pro 2 compare to prescription hearing aids?

While the AirPods Pro 2 do not match the performance of prescription hearing aids, they provide a cost-effective and accessible option for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.

3. What is the cost of the AirPods Pro 2?

The AirPods Pro 2 are priced at $249 for a pair, offering a more affordable option compared to traditional prescription hearing aids, which can cost around a thousand dollars.

4. Can the AirPods Pro 2 be used as hearing aids all day long?

With an extended battery life of six hours, the AirPods Pro 2 offer the convenience of prolonged usage without the need for frequent recharging, making them suitable for all-day use as hearing aids.

5. How do you customize the AirPods Pro 2 for hearing aid mode?

To enable the hearing aid mode, users need to pair the AirPods Pro 2 with an Apple iPhone and upload a professional audiogram threshold into the iPhone. Custom audio setup allows for personalized amplification and tone control based on individual hearing needs.

6. Do the AirPods Pro 2 provide benefit for individuals with hearing loss?

Despite not being prescription hearing aids, the AirPods Pro 2 offer significant benefit for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss, providing improved accessibility and functionality at a more affordable price point.

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