Gurman: AirPods to Gain Hearing Health Features Over the Next Two Years

Apple's AirPods could gain more prominent hearing health features in the next year or two, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

airpods pro conversation boostApple's Conversation Boost feature on the AirPods Pro.

In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said that he believes Apple will "upgrade the AirPods to become a health tool in the next year or two," adding "the ability to get hearing data of some sort."

Apple has already added several hearing-focused features to the AirPods in recent years such as Live Listen and Conversation Boost, but Gurman noted that such features are not yet FDA approved or designed to serve as a hearing aid replacement. Given Apple's health objectives, he expects AirPods to take on these sorts of functions "more officially" in the near future.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously highlighted the company's intention to add biometric health monitoring capabilities to future AirPods models. Apple patent filings have described an earbud-based fitness monitoring system that integrates an advanced biometric sensor to detect physiological metrics including temperature, heart rate, perspiration levels and more, through skin contact and via built-in motion sensors. Apple's vice president of technology, Kevin Lynch, has also hinted that AirPods could be a source of additional health data in the future.

New hearing health capabilities would not necessarily be contingent on new AirPods being released, since current models already contain speakers and microphones to support such features, and they could be pushed to existing devices via a firmware update.

Related Roundups: AirPods 3, AirPods Pro
Related Forum: AirPods

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Top Rated Comments

dantracht Avatar
16 months ago
In his latest issue of “Mark guesses the obvious and gets things right enough of the time to be worthy of clicks” newsletter…..
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FreakinEurekan Avatar
16 months ago
I stream audio (podcasts, music, teleconferences, audio from my Mac at work) to my hearing aids literally, all day. Once in a while I put in my AirPods and it SOUNDS way better… but the battery life & the external microphones don’t give me what I need. I’d LOVE to be able to replace the aids with AirPods, at least some of the time.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CSM Avatar
16 months ago
Would like to have some better frequency adjustments for Tinnitus.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arkitect Avatar
16 months ago
No **** [S]Sherlock[/S] Gurman strikes again.

The Mystic Meg of the Mac world.

What a fab job he has. Makes tons of money while "forecasting" the bleeding obvious…

*sigh* Wish my school careers advisors way back in the '70s saw this coming.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ScooterComputer Avatar
16 months ago
I’m ready for it. I already use AirPods Pro as hearing aid replacements. They work OK… but they could be better in obvious ways. I’m actually rather surprised Apple has been so slow to roll this out since they’d been one of the parties who petitioned the FDA to approve over-the-counter hearing aids. I’d especially appreciate if Apple were to “lift the veil (of secrecy)” a bit and at least announce officially if they’re planning on bringing these features to current models, that would be greatly appreciated by the hearing-impaired community. Need to balance the infamous “secrecy” with their commitment to the community!

One thing they absolutely NEED is a mechanism to troubleshoot AirPods on the iPhone. My impairment is worst in my left ear, and my left AirPod microphone has—apparently—been malfunctioning the past few months. But I didn’t know it, I just assumed my hearing was getting worse (which happens, unfortunately). And thanks to how the automatic microphone switching feature works, seemingly randomly folks I spoke to on the telephone would say my voice was “quiet” or “breaking up”, but with cellular and Bluetooth and earpieces, that’s not an indicator. And, like I said, it seemed random. It was until I really started paying attention to which ear I was putting AirPods into first that I tracked it down to the left mic. And by then my AppleCare had expired, though it had been ongoing for over 3 months, probably longer. Why couldn’t Siri/iOS have alerted me when using that the input from one microphone was substantially degraded over the other?? The OS had all the data, could have. Should have. Except that would be inconvenient for Apple’s bottom line. When I called Apple Support, they had no ability to troubleshoot the microphones and speakers on the iPhone, I had to suggest using Voice Memos… which I’d thought of on-the-fly while on the phone with them. That’s pretty bad. The alternative was for me to drive an hour to the closest Apple Store, but with no guarantee they could troubleshoot them. (I figured that really meant it was a trip whereby they could try to convince me to just buy another pair.) (Also found out that the external mic on my iPhone 12 mini was bad. On which AppleCare had just expired also. Sigh. Explains why “Hey Siri” had been working like crap for the past several months.)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TSE Avatar
16 months ago
Honest question, do these Mac prediction guys do this as a full-time job? Side hustle? Do they get paid for this sort of stuff? If so, how? Because I'd like to do what they do.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)