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Apple Reportedly Planning Robust Health Updates for AirPods

Apple Reportedly Planning Robust Health Updates for AirPods

Apple is said to be working on updates to its AirPods line that would include better hearing health features and body temperature tracking

Apple could be diving even deeper into the health and fitness world with rumored new updates to its AirPods. For many, it seems like yesterday that consumers were criticizing Apple’s investment in the product. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to work out in a gym, run in the park or walk down the street without seeing AirPods. The product generates billions of dollars for Apple each year. 

According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple is now working on a new hearing test feature that will play different tones and sounds to allow the AirPods to determine a person’s hearing abilities. The company is also reportedly assessing the possibility of consumers using AirPods as a hearing aid, a $10 billion-a-year global market. 

Headphones & Hearing Health

One of the main critiques of AirPods and other earbud headphones is their potential to cause hearing loss from loud outputs. However, Apple has invested in researching hearing health for its users. For example, the Apple Hearing Study was launched in collaboration with the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the data was shared with the World Health Organization’s Make Listening Safe initiative. One in ten participants of the study had average higher weekly headphone exposure than the WHO’s recommended limit.

credit: Apple

Apple has already begun investing in supporting the hearing-impaired community. Its Conversation Boost feature uses the beam-forming microphones on the AirPods Pro to boost the volume of another person, facilitating easier conversations. Live Listen is another feature that can allow consumers to use an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to act like a microphone, sending sound to someone’s AirPods. Apple Watch already measures ambient sound levels in the user’s environment using the microphone and duration of exposure. When someone’s environmental decibel level has risen to a point where hearing could be affected, it alerts users with a tap on the wrist.  

More Accurate Body Temperature Tracking

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Engineering work is also reportedly underway to use AirPods to determine body temperature through the wearer’s ear canal, which is more accurate than wrist temperature. Currently, Apple collects wrist temperature through the Apple Watch Series 8 and the Apple Watch Ultra to determine fertility tracking. More accurate measurements through the ear canal could improve women’s health features. 

Despite the rumors, many analysts predict that consumers may need to wait until 2024 or longer for an update to the AirPods, given Apple’s recent rollout schedule.

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