With the upcoming release of iOS 14, your iPhone will also actively be helping you to hear! It could be particularly beneficial to those of us who suffer from a hearing loss as it is programmed to listen, on our behalf, to sounds in our immediate environments.

With this new release, your iPhone can be set to listen for 14 specific alert sounds, such as your doorbell, a crying baby, smoke/carbon monoxide detector, or water running, and then sends you a notification.

This feature can certainly help all of us in our busy lives, but for those who are hearing impaired, it could conceivably even save lives. Now, Apple discourages users from depending on it for safety, with the Settings screen saying “ sound Recognition should not be relied upon in circumstances where you may be harmed or injured …” And there are AI systems available that are specifically designed for and capable of that function. But particularly for someone with an iPhone and a pair of MFi (‘made-for-iPhone’) hearing aids, it’s much better than nothing.

Tech giants have used AI-based sound recognition in some of their devices, such as Amazon Echo which can detect the sound of alarms and broken glass or Google’s microphone on Pixel phones that can detect a car crash and call emergency services. But even though Apple’s sound recognition currently isn’t designed for safety, having a feature as simple as letting you know that the dog is barking can be a very helpful thing.

The iPhone can already send sound notifications (for emails, texts, etc.) wirelessly to MFi hearing aids. Now when someone’s at the door or the dog needs to go for a walk, your hearing aids can let you know, even if you didn’t actually hear it the first time.

This is only the beginning. Based on my experience, I’m betting that Apple and the hearing aid industry will continue to improve this/other existing capabilities and develop new ones to the benefit of those I care for. More tools in my belt.

As an audiologist, I continue to be excited about our future.

We’re able to support you in all aspects of better hearing. Whether you need adjustments, repairs, cleanings, or simply need advice from an audiologist. In-person and curbside appointments are available, and even the option to have a live video call with an audiologist, we’re here for you.

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Jonathan Lipschutz Audiologist, M.S., F-AAA, Owner

Jonathan Lipschutz Audiologist, M.S., F-AAA, Owner

Jonathan is the owner of Berkeley Hearing Center. He received his bachelor of science in hearing and speech science and a master of science in audiology from Purdue University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and the California Academy of Audiology. Jonathan has over 20 years of audiology and hearing aid experience in both the non-profit and corporate sectors.