AirPods To Be Used As Hearing Aids, Health Devices
Apple is researching different ways in which the AirPods can enhance health, being used as hearing aids, monitoring body temperature much like an in-ear thermometer, and even regulating posture.
This is according to internal company documents which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
This jives with Tim Cook’s oft-repeated quote that Apple’s lasting legacy would be in the health sector.
The ‘conversation boost’ feature, introduced to AirPods last week, already aids in hearing, boosting the volume and clarity of those standing directly in front of the wearer.
AirPods cannot currently be offered as hearing aids, due to federal regulations that require anything marketed this way be sold through licensed hearing specialists. Technology has long caught up to this, and the FDA is currently working to update these laws to be more in line with the current market, and allow over-the-counter purchasing of these newer hearing aids.
This could be a huge moneymaker for Apple, as the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health at Johns Hopkins estimates 28 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, yet only 5 per cent use hearing aids.
This function in the AirPods could break the stigma of hearing aids, and help that middle ground who don’t feel their hearing is suffering enough to seek medical intervention.