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AirPods Pro could gain hearing aid mode in iOS 18

AirPods Pro 2

The AirPods Pro could benefit from a new hearing aid mode in iOS 18, a report forecasts, with upgrades to the low and mid-tier models also expected sometime in 2024.

Apple's Live Listen has helped the hard of hearing use AirPods to better hear their surroundings for a few years. Now, it seems that Apple will be going one major step further.

In Sunday's "Power On" newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman writes that there will be a new hearing aid mode included within iOS 18. Gurman doesn't go into detail about how the feature works, but it is likely to be an enhancement of existing accessibility features.

Listen Live uses the iPhone as a directional microphone, with the audio fed into the worn AirPods. Meanwhile Conversation Boost for AirPods Pro helps improve the audio quality for conversations happening right in front of the user.

The feature is likely to endear the AirPods Pro to the hard of hearing than they already do. In 2022, a study determined AirPods Pro were roughly on par with prescription hearing aids, though they were deemed not to be able to replace the medical-grade devices in all situations.

As well as a hearing aid mode, Gurman says there will be new low-end and mid-tier versions of AirPods, intended to replace the second and third-gen AirPods.

Gurman's newsletter follows previous rumors of the introduction of two gen 4 models of AirPods, as well as an update to the AirPods Max.