Hearing support with AirPods

Recently I had a routine decompression back surgery and everything went great and recovering very well, but then I developed a fever two weeks into my recovery. I was hospitalized for four days, as they were worried I had sepsis or meningitis ( I did not have either) I had a viral infection.  The day after I had gotten home from the hospital,  I lost all the hearing in my left ear.  The following morning I had about 10% hearing and noticed slight improvements. 

I saw a specialist immediately and was started on steroids and antivirals, and I have since gradually gained some hearing.  Currently I have lost between 30% and 40% of the hearing in my left ear.

So what does this have to do with Apple and AirPods?  Apple Accessibility and AirPods have helped me with my current situation.

Hearing loss - 

I have started using my AirPods as a temporary hearing aid.

In Settings>Accessibility, I go to Audio & Visual.  (Make sure you have your headphones in and connected to see all the menus)


A screen shot of the Audio & Visual menu in the Accessibility section of setting on iPhone.

In Audio & Visual I select Headphone Accommodations.  Here I can select a custom audiogram (I use an app called Mimi Hearing Test)  or a standard setting. and then select Transparency mode at the bottom.  Now I can use the AirPod as a microphone to boost my hearing and it will boost frequencies that I choose.  I can reduce the ambient noises,  and adjust balance if I am wearing both earbuds.


A screen shot of the Headphone Accommodations menu’s transparency section

I use this a lot when at home or watching a movie.


The ringing in my left ear can be hard to cope with at times.  Again, Apple Accessibility features offer some relief.  Under Audio & Visual, I turn on Background sounds to have a sound playing in the background as a distraction.


screenshot of the background sounds section under the accessibility menu

These two features have helped immensely as the deal with my hearing issues.  There is also a short cut to access these tools in Control Center. 

Bonus tip

Also under Audio and Visual you can set a balance for your AirPods so you have a balance between the ears when using your headphones for normal use.

All Replies

Posted on June 10, 2024

Just amazing Brian - you certainly have tapped into the accessibility features and taught me a thing or two. Appreciate it!

Thanks for the personal share that can help others. I hope for your continued recovery and look forward to more of your wonderful shares and ideas in the Apple Education Community as you get back on your feet.

Posted on June 11, 2024

Brian this post will be very useful for all sorts of people and situstions! I plan to share it immediately with some family that have hearing loss. Thank you for posting.

Posted on June 11, 2024

Brian you seem to have such a positive outlook while facing health challenges. And thank for sharing such useful tips. I certainly learned a lot.

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