How to Turn Your AirPods Pro/AirPods Max into Hearing Aids

10/12/2022 | Hearing Aids, Patient Resources, Technology, Troubleshooting

If you have an iOS14 device that was manufactured in or after 2020, along with AirPods Pro/AirPods Max earbuds that you currently use to stream audio, then good news (!) –chances are you will be able to use them like a simple version of an OTC hearing aid.

In this article, we’ll tell you how you can turn your AirPods into OTC hearing aids with helpful screenshots to help you achieve it with ease.

(FYI, we’re focusing specifically on AirPod Pro earbuds. If you use a different smartphone and therefore different earbuds, then the step-by-step guide section in this article is likely to be irrelevant to you. However, there are many tutorials online that will assist you with this.)

Active Noise Cancellation & Transparency Mode

A few years ago, Apple, Samsung, and Google all joined Bose in producing “noise cancelling technology,” which Apple has since included within their AirPods and therefore enabling AirPods to be used as “mild gain amplifiers” or very simple hearing aids.

(The best news is that this can all be achieved without using the live listen feature on your iPhone, which meant you had to place your iPhone in front of the person you wanted to hear.)

The active noise cancellation feature means that you can use your AirPods to help you concentrate on one-on-one conversations, whereas the transparency mode allows you to enjoy hearing all the environmental sounds around you, which Apple describes as “letting the outside in.”

Step-By-Step Instructions to Turn Your AirPods Pro/AirPods Max into Hearing Aids

To get the most out of this transition, and so your AirPods know how much to amplify sounds by, Apple advises that you upload your hearing test results (aka audiogram) into the Health section of your iPhone.

If you haven’t got one of these, then getting one couldn’t be easier.

A great (and free) hearing test app is the Mimi app.

This is not the same as a diagnostic assessment of ears and hearing, but it will provide a close approximation of behavioral threshold responses.

Once you have done your test, save it to the Health section of your iPhone, where it’ll be stored safely.

Mimi Hearing Test app

Then on your device, open Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Headphone Accommodations.

headphone audio customization

You can then set your own custom headphone audio settings, including speech, phone calls, and music…

headphone accommodations

Once done, you’ll then be able to adjust the transparency mode setup, which again will be helped along massively by your previously uploaded audiogram.

customise transparency mode

From there, it’s a simple case of exploring the different options and adjusting them to suit your individual preferences, and voila! You have officially turned your AirPods into your very own OTC hearing aid!

Need a Bit More Help?

Of course, this is only easy if you know what you’re doing, so we appreciate that you may need a bit of extra help getting this set up.

At Audiology & Hearing Aid Associates, we offer one-to-one tech sessions where we can work with you to best understand your technology needs and help you navigate the oftentimes alien world of tech!

Please click here to schedule yours today.

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Erika Shakespeare CCC-A

Erika Shakespeare, CCC-A, specializes in pediatric and adult diagnostics and amplification. Working with adults to help manage tinnitus and hearing loss since 2002, she is an expert in both of these areas. Additionally, she is a pediatric audiology mentor and educator for pediatric audiologists across the country and is one of the most respected experts on pediatric audiology.

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