Apple AirPods may double as hearing aids in the future — you'll finally stop saying 'huh?!'

Apple AirPods next to a listening man
(Image credit: Apple/Getty Images/Apple AirPods next to a listening man)

If you often deal with mumble-mouthed people or you have a mild hearing disability, the latest gossip from respected Apple analyst Mark Gurman may excite you. The Cupertino-based tech giant is reportedly working on a pair of AirPods that will double as hearing aids.

Apple already implemented some hearing aid-esque features to AirPods, including Live Listen (your iPhone acts like a microphone to send sound to your AirPods) and Conversation Boost (increases the clarity of your conversation buddy's voice), but they're not approved by any regulatory body.

Consequently, Gurman said that Apple hired engineers from the hearing-aid space to help manifest its vision of FDA-approved, hearing-enhancing AirPods into reality.

Apple's foray into the hearing aid market?

This isn't the first time Gurman claimed that Apple is working on AirPods that enhance users' hearing health. In mid-March, we reported that the Apple tipster heard whispers about the Cupertino-based tech giant adding a new AirPods feature that gathers "hearing data of some sort."

After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) widened access to hearing aids in October 2022, allowing consumers to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) hearing-enhancing devices without a medical examination nor a prescription, many companies jumped at the opportunity to release earbuds-esque hearing aids. For example, I had the opportunity to experiment with Sony's hearing-enhancing earbuds for a week (i.e., Sony CRE-E10).

Sony CRE-E10

Sony CRE-E10s (Image credit: Sony)

What's new in Gurman's July report, however, is that the Apple AirPods may feature a new hearing test that will play "different tones and sounds" to determine how well the user can hear. This is similar to how the Sony CRE-E10s work. At setup, several tones will play via the companion app — and you have to answer how many beeps you heard. This helps the CRE-E10s create a hearing-enhancing profile that best fits your needs. I suspect that the AirPods hearing test Apple is reportedly working on is designed to do something similar.

Other features headed to AirPods

According to Gurman, Apple is exploring adding a body-temperature feature to AirPods, too. His unnamed sources also claim that these future-gen AirPods will have some sort of connection with the Apple Vision Pro headset, which is poised to be released next year, but Gurman didn't divulge deeper.

Finally, the Apple leaker added that a cheaper AirPods variant in the works as well as a USB-C port transition for the charging case.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!