‘Hearing Aid Mode’ Could Be a Feature of Apple’s Next iOS 18 Update | What Does This Mean?

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Industry News

Rumours are at an all-time high as various reputable forums and news outlets speculate about tech giant Apple entering the hearing care market in late 2024/early 2025.

Here’s what we can tell you at this point.

The predicted release of the iOS 18 update in September 2024 could focus on enabling Apple AirPods users to use their earphones as amplifiers to better support them in challenging listening situations by using “Hearing Aid Mode,” an enhancement to their previously launched Live Listen (2019) and Conversation Boost (2021) features.

The January edition of Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter suggests that this could be the “biggest” software update in iPhone’s stellar history.

Nothing can be confirmed to date, but we are expecting details about their iOS 18 software update during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 10 where they are expected to release the details of iOS 18 .

Along with their Hearing Aid Mode feature, there are rumours that Apple will be releasing their 3rd generation AirPods Pro in early 2025, which are believed to be the hardware that will allow users to gain optimal benefits from the software feature.

What Can You Expect from Hearing Aid Mode?

Currently, various apps allow you to use your AirPods as sound amplifiers by taking the sounds picked up by their microphones and amplifying it into your earbuds.

There is speculation that Hearing Aid Mode matched with the new Apple AirPods Pro 3 will likely be more sophisticated with features that allow you to self-assess your hearing and utilize features, like noise cancellation, to enhance your hearing in difficult listening environments.

We’ll be watching Apple’s June 10 conference to get more information and will share any updates with you on this blog.

Our Biggest Concern

When over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids were approved by the FDA in 2022, many of our American friends who operate private practice hearing care clinics discovered that there were some major issues to deal with.

Several leading tech brands, such as Jabra and Sony, quickly launched their OTC devices into the market in October of 2022, receiving a mixed response.

The media added to the confusion by declaring that “affordable hearing aids had arrived,” and many individuals with hearing challenges purchased them. They discovered that these OTC devices did not meet their needs/expectations, but in many cases, they served as a catalyst to seeking a full-time prescription solution.

Our biggest concern is that advertising messages and media headlines could lead many people to believe that the combination of their Apple AirPods and Hearing Aid Mode software could provide comparable results to prescription hearing technology.

Consequently, those who purchase the new AirPods expecting a solution to their hearing challenges could arrive at the conclusion that addressing their hearing challenges with professional hearing aid technology is not the right solution for them.

It’s important for people to understand that the difference between these types of amplifiers and prescription hearing technology is like comparing readers with prescription eyeglasses.

Focusing on the Positive

One big positive that could come out of this is that it could be one of the industry’s biggest steps forward in normalizing the conversation around hearing loss and reducing the associated stigma.

As the largest—and in some people’s eyes, the coolest—technology brand in the world begins to promote the benefits of better hearing, many users will be able to experience what improved hearing could sound like.

As a potential catalyst for changing the conversation around hearing loss, hearing assessments and treatment of hearing challenges could become far more common, and many people may take the first step in seeking long-term professional help with a prescription solution.

What’s Next?

As always, we’re closely monitoring any and all tech news like this so we can stay at the forefront of the latest announcements, which we will pass along to you by using this blog.

Stay up to date with the latest news and updates. Subscribe to the Port Credit Audiology & Hearing Aid Clinic’s email newsletter today!

If you have any questions, need assistance or would like to discuss your hearing challenges, then you can request a callback by clicking here, or give us a call at (905) 990-3755.


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Dario Coletta

Dario Coletta M.Sc., Au.D., Reg. CASLPO Doctor of Audiology is the head Audiologist of Port Credit Audiology & Hearing Aid Clinic. Dario obtained his Doctor of Audiology from A.T. Still University and Master of Science in Audiology from the University of British Columbia following his Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. He currently holds lecturer status at the University of Toronto in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Dario continues to work part-time at the Toronto General Hospital and has knowledge in advanced diagnostics, bespoke hearing aid fittings, and cerumen management. Dario also has a special interest in managing and counselling patients with tinnitus. He brings knowledge and efficiency in prescribing and fitting the newest hearing aid technology, and is committed to helping patients find an individualized solution for their hearing healthcare concerns.