Share this story!
Hearing aids are a very important aid for those with hearing loss to be able to live a normal life. But in many countries, hearing aids are so expensive that many refrain. In the United States, for example, a hearing aid costs on average around 22,000 SEK (2,000 dollars) for the patient, which means that only 30 percent of those who need hearing aids have obtained them.
But now researchers from the Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan have conducted a study that shows that Apple's AirPods Pro can work almost as well as simpler hearing aids, Science Daily reports. Since AirPods Pro costs about a tenth of the average price for a hearing aid in the US, it seems that there are significantly more people who can afford the wireless headphones.
It is the function Live Listen that allows the headphones to pick up sounds you want to hear, for example from the person you are talking to, and amplify them.
The researchers had 21 people with hearing loss listen to speech while wearing either AirPods Pro or different models of hearing aids. It turned out that in some cases the headphones worked just as well as the hearing aids. Especially in environments with a lot of ambient noise, the headphones were as good as the hearing aids at helping a person better hear what people were saying.
In some other cases, the headphones weren't quite as good as hearing aids but were still better than having no hearing aid at all.
“These wireless headphones are of course not perfect, but they are a good start for many patients who do not have access to hearing aids. They will experience increased quality of life even with these headphones,” said Yen-fu Cheng, researcher at Taipei Veterans General Hospital and one of the researchers behind the study.
Then there may also be another reason why some with hearing loss do not use hearing aids.
“There is a social stigma attached to hearing aids. Many patients are reluctant to use them because they don't want to look old,” says Yen-fu Cheng.
With wireless headphones, they now have the chance to hear better without looking old in their own eyes.