June 3rd marks the start of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference where updates to the operating systems that run the iPhone, iPad and various other Apple products are revealed. During this week-long event, Apple is also expected to unveil several new apps for the Apple Watch, including ones that have new health tracking applications, as well as a books app for listening to audio books from your wrist.
In addition to a slew of new apps, Apple plans to launch or update several software and hardware features. Although these new additions have not been formally announced by Apple, industry insiders speculate that some of these new features could be quite helpful for individuals with hearing loss and communication challenges.
New Features and Upgrades that Could Help People with Hearing Loss
Some Apple updates could have crossover potential for persons with hearing loss and the hearing care professions, include:
- Better integrated hearing aid support and a more comprehensive Accessibility settings menu on the main page of the Settings app.
- An updated Health app with a “hearing health” section, including one, dubbed “Dose,” that detects harmful noise doses and another that shows the status of hearing aid battery life
- AirPods instantly read new messages from one any message app
- A HomePod speaker that responds to different users’ voices, creating a much-requested multi-user mode.
- A new Voice Memos app for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac so users can record voice memos from their wrist.
For audiologists, hearing instrument specialists and others with a keen interest in technological solutions for persons with hearing loss, these advancements by Apple are noteworthy. They show the continued morphing of hearing aid technology with consumer electronic breakthroughs like voice-activated user interfaces, such as Alexa and Siri and biometric capabilities.
The cross pollenization of technology is likely to result in a greater number of choices for a rapidly aging population coping with hearing loss.