Surprise discovery shows AirPods can work just as well as expensive hearing aids: ScienceAlert

Surprise discovery shows AirPods can work just as well as expensive hearing aids: ScienceAlert

High-end AirPods have the potential to act as hearing aids AIDS for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss, according to new research that compares Apple-made headphones to traditional hearing AIDS in a series of tests.

The results could transform the lives of millions of people who do not currently use hearing AIDS they need, due to high cost or the social stigma that comes with them – two issues that don’t apply so much to consumer headphones.

“These wireless headphones are of course not perfect, but they would be a good starting point for many patients who do not have access to professional hearing. AIDS“, says otolaryngologist Yen-Fu Chengfrom the Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan.

“They will see an improvement in quality of life even with these headphones on.”

For the purposes of the study, 21 participants with mild to moderate hearing loss were tested with a premium hearing aid AIDS (costing USD 10,000 in the Taiwanese market), basic audition AIDS (US$1,500), AirPods Pro headphones (US$249) and AirPods 2 (US$129). AirPods were tied to Apple iPhones, which had an environmental noise amplification app called Listen live installed.

Short sentences were read to the volunteers, who were then asked to repeat them.

In noisy environments, if the noise was not coming from in front of the listener, the AirPods Pro performed on par with premium hearing. AIDS. In quiet environments, AirPods Pro fare slightly worse than premium hearing AIDSand about as good as basic hearing AIDS.

Basic AirPods 2 weren’t as good as Hearing AIDS in quiet or loud scenarios – but it was better than none at all. In noisy environments, when the noise source was in front of the volunteers, no AirPod model helped participants hear better.

While the AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro both feature Live Listen technology that amplifies sounds, only the Pro model has active noise cancellation, which detects and blocks out certain external sounds. This may help explain the discrepancy between the two sets of wireless headphones.

“Two reasons can explain the difference between the two scenarios”, says bioengineer Ying-Hui Lai, from National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. “It can relate to the trajectories with which sound waves travel, as well as the advanced signal processing algorithm by premium hearing AIDS.”

“This discovery will hopefully inspire engineers to design hearing systems AIDS and personal sound amplification products that are more sensitive in certain directions.”

Besides the high price of professional hearing AIDS, wearers may worry that they make them look old. They also require multiple visits to medical professionals for adjustment and adjustment. Consequently, as much as 75 percent of people in the United States with hearing loss, do not use them AIDS.

Wireless earbuds are a more accessible alternative, and their numbers keep growing: everyone from Google to Samsung to Sony is making a pair of wireless earbuds, with additional features packed in with every update. day of these products.

The researchers believe their work may actually encourage manufacturers to include features to help people with hearing loss, as well as features to improve the sound of music and podcasts. However, it would be important to introduce some sort of regulatory procedure to label which headphones would help and which would not.

“Globally, the market for wireless headphones is growing rapidly,” said Lai. “Some companies are interested in exploring the possibility of designing headphones with sound-amplifying features. Our study proves that the idea is plausible.”

The research has been published in iScience.

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