As an audiologist with years of experience in hearing healthcare, I understand the challenges that those with hearing loss face daily. Apple’s Live Listen feature, introduced in earlier versions of iOS and now updated in iOS 15, offers a valuable tool to help individuals with hearing loss navigate various listening environments.
In this article, we will explore how Live Listen in iOS 15 can benefit someone with hearing loss, discuss any upgrades or improvements, provide guidance on how to set it up, and examine whether it can be considered an alternative to hearing aids.
Live Listen: A Brief Overview
Live Listen is a feature in iOS devices that turns your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into a remote microphone when used in conjunction with compatible hearing aids or AirPods. This functionality can help users hear better in noisy environments or when the speaker is at a distance.
By pointing your device’s microphone towards the person you want to hear, the audio is sent directly to your hearing aid or AirPods, providing an enhanced listening experience.
Upgrades to Live Listen in iOS 15
While the core functionality of Live Listen remains consistent in iOS 15, Apple has continued to improve its compatibility with Made for iPhone (MFi) hearing aids and AirPods.
This means that users can expect a smoother experience when connecting their devices and a more stable audio stream.
Additionally, iOS 15 includes subtle refinements to the user interface, making it easier to access and control Live Listen settings.
Setting Up Live Listen in iOS 15
To set up Live Listen with MFi hearing aids or AirPods, follow these steps:
1. Pair your hearing aids or AirPods with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
2. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Hearing Devices
3. Tap the name of your hearing device under MFi Hearing Devices
4. Tap “Start Live Listen”
5. Position your device near the sound source you want to hear, with the microphone facing the speaker
6. When you’re finished, tap “End Live Listen”
Is Live Listen an Alternative to Hearing Aids?
While Live Listen can provide some assistance in difficult listening situations, it is important to remember that it is not a replacement for professionally fitted hearing aids.
Hearing aids are specifically designed and tailored to an individual’s unique hearing loss profile, ensuring that the most appropriate amplification and processing are applied to maximize speech understanding and sound quality.
They also offer additional features such as noise reduction, feedback cancellation, and directional microphones that further enhance the listening experience.
In contrast, Live Listen is a supplementary tool that can be useful in specific situations, but it does not provide the comprehensive and personalized hearing solutions that hearing aids offer.
For individuals with hearing loss, the definitive choice should be professionally fitted hearing aids prescribed by a qualified audiologist or hearing healthcare provider.
Maximizing the Benefits of Live Listen and Hearing Aids
Live Listen in iOS 15 offers a valuable tool for those with hearing loss, allowing them to hear better in challenging listening situations.
Although there may not be groundbreaking upgrades in this version, the improved compatibility and refinements in the user interface make it a beneficial feature for users with compatible hearing aids or AirPods.
While Live Listen can provide some benefits, it should not be considered a replacement for professionally fitted hearing aids, which offer a comprehensive and personalized hearing solution.
As an audiologist, I encourage you to explore the use of Live Listen in conjunction with professionally prescribed hearing aids to maximize your listening experience and overall quality of life.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
We are here to help.