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

Top Rated Comments

dantracht Avatar
13 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
13 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
13 months ago
Would like to have some better frequency adjustments for Tinnitus.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arkitect Avatar
13 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
13 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
13 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)

Popular Stories

Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple Cancels Electric Car Project

Tuesday February 27, 2024 11:05 am PST by
Apple has canceled all plans to release an autonomous, electric vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been working on an Apple Car for more than a decade and invested millions of dollars into development before deciding it was not a viable project. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams today told approximately 2,000 employees working on the Apple Car that the project was canceled,...
General Apps Messages

iOS 17.4 to Add This 'Groundbreaking' New Messaging Feature

Friday February 23, 2024 5:05 am PST by
With iOS 17.4, set to arrive in March 2024, Apple is bringing a new cryptographic security feature to iMessage called PQ3. This "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks," according to Apple. Let's break down what that means. Apple's iMessage service already supports end-to-end encryption, but security...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Coming Soon With These New Features for Your iPhone

Monday February 26, 2024 6:08 am PST by
In a press release last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

iOS 18 Rumored to Be Compatible With These iPhone Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:31 am PST by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and thereby also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. The post was spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris, and it has since been deleted. However, this was likely because the...
applearcade

Game Developers Describe 'Smell of Death' Around Apple Arcade

Monday February 26, 2024 7:24 am PST by
Some game developers are dissatisfied with Apple Arcade amid concerns about the subscription service's future, a new report claims. Sources speaking to mobilegamer.biz described a "smell of death" around Apple's games subscription service and noted the difference between the company's investment in TV and music, and its interest in games. "At the very top of the company there needs to be a ...