It seems like Apple is studying ways to make AirPods into a health device, which may enhance hearing, monitor body temperature and posture.
According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal, it isn’t clear if Apple is developing specific new hearing-aid features for AirPods or wants to market the earbuds’ existing hearing-improvement features as hearing aids.
Furthermore, the WSJ report also suggests that these health-focused features may actually take a while before rolling out in the market. “These functions aren’t expected by next year and might never be rolled out to consumers, or the timing could change,” the report stated.
The tech giant is already developing prototypes for AirPods to take wearers’ core body temperature from inside their ear, according to the documents reviewed by the Journal. The thermometer would be the second that Apple could add to its devices, including a new wrist temperature-sensor Apple may include in next year’s version of the Apple Watch, the Journal previously reported.
The primary clinical management intervention for people with hearing loss is hearing aids, however, the majority (80%) of adults aged 55–74 years who would benefit from a hearing aid, do not use them. The reasons include hearing aid value, device factor, appearance, fit and comfort and maintenance of the hearing aid, etc.
Offering AirPods as hearing aids could encourage more and more people with hearing loss to start using hearing aids. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working on new regulations that would permit the sale of a new class of cheaper hearing aids direct to consumers to treat mild to moderate hearing loss, according to the Wall Street Journal report. The new regulations are expected to be completed next year.
Earlier this month, Apple India unveiled its Festive offer during the religious ceremony of Durga Puja. The offer entitles those who buy an iPhone 12 or an iPhone 12 mini via Apple’s online stores to get a free pair of AirPods.