Research results that Apple's AirPods Pro have hearing assistance performance comparable to expensive hearing aids

Hearing loss makes it difficult to hear sounds and conversations without hearing aids, which are very expensive. Therefore, when a Taiwanese research team tested the hearing assistance function of Apple's wireless earphone AirPods Pro , it was found that the hearing assistance performance of AirPods was at a level comparable to hearing aids.

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Hearing loss due to aging or listening to too much loud noise is known to make communication difficult, reduce quality of life, and increase the risk of dementia . Inexpensive hearing aids can be purchased for around 50,000 to 100,000 yen, but if you are looking for decent performance, you will need a budget of several hundred thousand yen or more.

In addition, hearing aids require frequent visits to medical institutions for regular tuning and fitting, and many people want to avoid wearing hearing aids because of their appearance. A survey conducted in the United States found that 75% of people with hearing loss do not use hearing aids.

Therefore, research teams such as Taipei Veterans General Hospital and National Taipei University conducted an experiment to compare the hearing aid function of Apple's wireless earphone AirPods with hearing aids. “There is also a social stigma associated with hearing aids,” said Yen-fu Cheng, an otolaryngologist at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. So we started looking to see if there were more accessible alternatives.'

AirPods are equipped with a hearing aid function called `` Live Listening '', which allows you to support your hearing by using an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, etc. as a remote microphone.

The research team compared the performance of '

AirPods (2nd generation) ' with a price of $ 129 (about 18,000 yen) in the Taiwan market, ' AirPods Pro ' with a price of $ 249 (about 35,000 yen), 'Basic type hearing aid' for $ 1,500 (about 210,000 yen), 'Premium type hearing aid' for $ 10,000 (about 1.4 million yen). AirPods aren't cheap either, but they are significantly cheaper than hearing aids.

In the experiment, we recruited 21 subjects with mild to moderate hearing loss and asked them to wear each of the four devices. In this state, the researcher read out a short sentence such as ``The electricity bill has risen recently,'' and asked the subject to repeat the same sentence.

When tested in a quiet environment, AirPods Pro performed similarly to basic hearing aids and slightly less than premium hearing aids. The second-generation AirPods performed the worst of the four devices, but they were able to hear the text more clearly than without the hearing aids.

Also, as a result of experiments in a noisy environment, it was found that AirPods Pro demonstrated performance comparable to premium hearing aids under conditions where noise was generated from the subject's side. However, none of the AirPods could improve hearing under the condition that noise could be heard from the subject's front.

Both the 2nd generation AirPods and AirPods Pro have a live listening function that amplifies audio, but the upper model has active noise canceling that detects and blocks some external audio. AirPods Pro only. This point may lead to the difference in hearing assistance performance between the 2nd generation AirPods and AirPods Pro.

Regarding the results of this study, Ying-Hui Lai, a bioengineer at the National Yang Ming Jiaotong University, pointed out that the advanced signal processing algorithms installed in premium hearing aids may also have caused the difference in hearing assistance performance. . 'We hope this discovery will inspire engineers to design hearing aids and personal audio amplification devices that are more sensitive to specific directions.' 'The wireless earphone market is booming globally, and some companies is interested in the possibility of designing earphones with audio amplification, and our research proves this idea to be plausible.'

in Hardware,   Science, Posted by log1h_ik