While it’s all speculation at this current point, speculation from reputable forums and news outlets tells that tech giant Apple is set to release “Hearing Aid Mode” in the next iOS update, iOS 18, predicted for a September 2024 release. 

This new feature will allow Apple AirPods users to use their earbuds as amplifiers in difficult listening environments. It’s not Apple’s first foray into hearing assistive features: “Hearing Aid Mode” will sit alongside previously launched features “Live Listen” from 2019 and “Conversation Boost” from 2021. 

Apple has scheduled a Worldwide Developers Conference for June 10, where it is rumoured details about iOS 18 will be released alongside information about the third generation of Apple AirPods Pro, which it is speculated will be released in early 2025. 

Rumours are spreading like wildfire, but people are already confident that this could be the biggest software update in Apple’s history. 

What Will “Hearing Aid Mode” Be Like? 

There are multiple apps on the market that let you use your headphones like personal sound amplifiers, but “Hearing Aid Mode” looks to be more sophisticated in how it will help people amplify the sound around them. 

Based on speculation, “Hearing Aid Mode” will include features that will allow users to self-assess their hearing, then use that data to boost sound in harder listening environments, similar to personal sound amplifier products (PSAPs). 

We will keep a close eye on Apple’s June 10 conference to see what updates and information will be released. 

Pros and Cons of Apple’s “Hearing Aid Mode” 

Our American friends might find this situation similar to when regulations were finalized in 2022 for over-the-counter hearing aids; the media sang their praises, but failed to explain that they weren’t on the same level as prescription hearing aids, which are tailored to each individual’s hearing loss. Many people bought pairs of over-the-counter hearing aids and did not have the experience they hoped for, and some sought out a professional hearing care solution instead. 

Our biggest concern is that with the media jumping on this story, thanks to Apple’s status as a technology giant, people could be led to believe that “Hearing Aid Mode” will deliver similar levels of hearing care to an actual hearing aid. 

If people get the new AirPods Pro 3 and expect something more than what they receive, it could lead to them deciding that professionally addressing their hearing loss challenges isn’t worth it. “Hearing Aid Mode” and prescription hearing aid technology are not the same, and we’re hoping that people recognize that. 

However, this could be a huge step forward in addressing the outdated stigmas that are associated with hearing loss and hearing care. 

Hearing aids are often associated with negative ideas about aging and getting old. For many people, seeing the largest technology brand in the world promoting hearing care and advocating for addressing hearing loss challenges could be the sign they need to seek out care for their own hearing loss. 

While “Hearing Aid Mode” with the Apple AirPods will not compare to the professional hearing care that comes with prescription hearing aids, seeing more conversation around hearing care could lead to the normalization of hearing loss and seeking out help.  

What Comes Next? 

We’ll continue to monitor this story closely, and we will be watching Apple’s June 10 conference to find out more information about this predicted new feature. 

If you have questions about hearing care or concerns about your own hearing challenges, please feel free to request a callback and we would be happy to chat with you. Alternatively, for a more immediate conversation, you can find your closest clinic and call us: 

Truro: 1-888-897-1147 
Bridgewater: 1-888-323-4111 
Kentville: 1-877-257-5525 

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Annette Cross, BC-HIS CEO and President of Provincial Hearing

Annette grew up in a farming family and was familiar with hearing loss because it was in her family. Finding hearing care very interesting, and after gaining more than 10 years of management experience, she started working in the industry in 1992 as a secretary. Her passion and dedication to help enhance lives through better hearing has only grown more since those days. In 1997, Annette had the opportunity to purchase Provincial Hearing from owner Don Allen. Since then, she has grown the business to three locations — Bridgewater, Truro, and Kentville. Provincial Hearing is proud to be one of the oldest locally/family-owned clinics in Nova Scotia, and Annette contributes the clinics’ success to her team’s provision of honest, personalized patient care and their desire to always stay on top of the latest advancements in the hearing industry.