Live Listen: Enhanced Hearing for iOS

Apple AirPods with an iPhone in the background

Apple’s Air Pods have become hugely popular among consumers thanks in part to the fact that this new iteration of earbud is small, discrete, and completely wireless. But, what a lot of Apple users might not know is that these devices can also be used as assistive technology for individuals with auditory challenges! In today’s e-bulletin we’re going to explore the Live Listen accessibility feature which first debuted with iOS version 12.

To put it simply, Live Listen turns an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into a portable microphone that sends sounds to a connected users Air Pods (or Powerbeats Pro). Because this technology allows users to tap into conversations from a distance, it could be exceptionally useful for auditorily-challenged students who might otherwise struggle to hear their teacher or professor in a classroom or lecture room. It could also be used for individuals in the workplace. Users with auditory challenges could place their iOS device in the middle of a conference room or table, put on their air pods, and tune in to an amplified audio stream of their meeting.

While this technology represents an exceptionally low-cost alternative to a traditional hearing aid, the degree of amplification that can be achieved with a hearing aid is much greater than what can be achieved via Live Listen, so for users with more profound auditory challenges, a more typical hearing aid will likely still be required. The good news is Live Listen technology can also be used in conjunction with any Made for iPhone hearing device. These modern hearing aids are as powerful as their analog predecessors, but also give users the ability to stream audio, answer phone calls, and more. To learn more about Made for iPhone hearing devices, click here.

How to Use Live Listen:

First, users will need to add the Live Listen feature to their control center. This can be achieved via the following steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Control Center.
  2. Tap Customize Controls.
  3. Scroll down and tap the plus icon located beside Hearing
  4. Tap Back to save.

Once Live Listen has been added to the Control Center:

  1. Open Control Center via Settings or by swiping down from the top of the screen.
  2. Tap on the ear icon.
  3. Tap Live Listen.
  4. Place your iOS device in front of the person speaking and be sure to adjust the volume settings as needed.

Note: When connecting via Live Listen, please ensure that Bluetooth is on. Bluetooth settings can also be accessed via Control Center, or, via Settings.

Tags: apps, assistive technology, AT HelpDesk

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