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Health Tech: Consumer Ear Buds as Hearables

Hearing aids can be life changing. But do you really need to spend thousands of dollars when you might already own the solution for mild to moderate hearing loss?

The FDA recently allowed hearing aids and other devices to help with hearing loss to be sold over the counter in drug stores and other retail outlets. But new research shows that you might already have all that you need to help with mild to moderate hearing loss. The fact is that consumer ear buds already have impressive sound processing technology, even without special applications. Researchers tested standard Apple AirPod and AirPod Pro earbuds, measuring their performance against the ANSI/CTA-2051 performance requirements, and compared them with dedicated hearing aids. The results showed that the AirPod Pro earbuds performed better than the standard AirPods, meeting four out of the five requirements. Except for when background noise came from in front of the user, they worked just about as well as the hearing aids. So if you have mild to moderate hearing loss, you might want to try your earbuds as a starting point.

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Written by Alfred Poor

Alfred Poor is an "Into Tomorrow" Contributing Correspondent, health tech speaker, writer and the founding Editor of Health Tech Insider: a website and industry newsletter that covers wearable and mobile technology for health and medical applications. With more than 2,400 articles published on the site, he has a broad perspective of where the global industry stands today and where it’s headed... Into Tomorrow.

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