How to Use Airpods as Hearing Aids

A hearing aid is a highly sophisticated piece of technology capable of picking up sounds and transferring them via a T-Coil and radio signals.

When it comes to the AirPods, you can’t and shouldn’t use them instead of a prescribed hearing aid device. However, they can help you hear sounds more easily. This article will explain how.

Airpods and Airpods Pro Have Live Listen

There is a setting on your AirPods called Live Listen. It allows you to listen to the sounds around you and have them amplified as if they were coming through your speakers. Unfortunately, the AirPods do not have a microphone in them like regular hearing aids.

Instead, you need to connect your AirPods to your iPhone. Your phone picks up sounds the same way it would if you were talking on speakerphone. It then transmits the sounds it picks up into your earphones.

Can You Spy with Your Airpods?

You can use your iPhone and your AirPods to spy on people by leaving your phone in one room, and then moving into another one to listen to what they’re saying. It is no different from leaving your voice recorder on except that you get the audio in real-time rather than recording it.

Also, you have to be in the range of your device’s Bluetooth connection. You cannot leave it in a room and then leave the house because your AirPods will automatically disconnect from your phone once you’re out of the range.

How to Open Up Live Listen

You will need to pair your iPhone with your AirPods, which you have probably done. Since your AirPods do not have buttons or a control menu, you will need to control them with your iPhone. Here is how you activate Live Listen.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Pick “Control Center.”
  3. Pick “Customize Controls.”
  4. Tap the green + button that sits next to “Hearing” in the menu.

The accessibility options are now enabled. You only need to do this once. Now, whenever you wish to activate Live Listen, follow these steps. Make sure the AirPods are in your ears.

  1. Go to the “Control Center.” You might have to swipe down from the top-right if you’re using a newer iPhone (X or a later model). Otherwise, swipe up from the bottom of the Home screen.
    Swipe down from top right
  2. Within your control center, you will see an Ear icon that looks remarkably similar to the ear icon that was next to the “Hearing” setting in the “Customize Controls” panel.
  3. Change the “Live Listen” feature from off to on.
    airpods live listen on and off

To turn off Live Listen, you can move out of the range of your iPhone, or you can turn off your iPhone’s Bluetooth. You can also open up the Control Center and set the “Live Listen” function back to “Off.”

Why Only the Auditory Sounds?

Your AirPods can only help you with sounds in the auditory range. Why? There are two reasons. Firstly, there are limitations regarding the sounds the device can pick up and recreate. Secondly, it can’t recreate sounds outside of the human hearing range. And even if it could, you wouldn’t be able to hear it.

Keep Your iPhone in Your Hand or on the Table

If you are speaking to somebody and you start using Live Listen, then place your iPhone on the table, or keep it in your hands. Do not try having people talk into it like a walkie talkie because it might get too loud if you do. It would sound like somebody is using a speakerphone in your ear.

What About Other Devices?

The Live Listen feature is only available with the iPhone and Apple AirPods. Does this mean that the feature doesn’t exist with other wireless earphones? No, there may be others, but the point is that Live Listen is an Apple function.

If you have AirPods or wireless headphones and an Android phone, then you can download an app from Google Play that serves the same purpose as Live Listen. For example, there is an app called Headset Remote, which allows you to transmit what your Android phone picks up to your AirPods or other wireless headphones.

How Useful Is Live Listen?

Your Airpods are not going to replace a standard hearing aid, but they may come in handy under certain circumstances. For example, if you are slightly hard of hearing and have trouble with noises in crowds, then you may find it more comfortable with the Live Listen feature.

The same is true if you are hard of hearing and cannot filter out the background noise of a train, tram, or subway. There are even some people who say it makes it easier to hear lectures in lecture halls because the earphones filter out most of the reverb that makes listening so difficult.

However, the iPhone/AirPods combo is not that great of a baby monitor. You need to keep the earphones in, and you are left without your phone for hours on end.

Conclusion – Is Live Listen Disabled for a Reason?

If Live Listen is so great, why is it disabled? Why do people have to enable it to use it? The answer is because Live Listen is an accessibility function, just like larger fonts. It is handy for people who are hard of hearing, but otherwise, it doesn’t offer much to most other people.

Still, once you enable the feature, you do not have to do it again. So, the fact that it is disabled out of the box is not a big deal.

Will the AirPods replace hearing aids one day? Have you found other handy uses for Live Listen? Let us know in the comments section.

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