AirPods will be able to act like hearing aids with Live Listen in iOS 12

AirPods continue to get smarter
AirPods get more hearable with iOS 12
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

AirPods may be selling like crazy, but Apple didn't take any time at its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote to announce any new features coming to the headphones. However, now that the iOS 12 beta is out in the wild, eager users have been spotting new features that went unmentioned at WWDC.

One of them, first spotted by TechCrunch, is Live Listen for AirPods. Live Listen essentially turns your iPhone into a directional mic, feeding that audio into your AirPods. So if you were in a crowded restaurant and you couldn't hear your friend, you could point your iPhone at your friend and hear what they're saying more clearly via AirPods.

FAQ: Everything you need to know about AirPods

Apple actually first announced Live Listen back in 2014, and at the time the feature was designed for hearing aids only. Hearing aids certified through Apple's Made for iPhone program would be able to use the iPhone as a mic so that people with hearing problems could better hear people in noisy environments, like a packed restaurant.

Live Listen would appear when a compatible hearing aid was connected, and would allow you to adjust volume and make it a default Accessibility option. At the time, Apple didn't have a pair of easily wearable headphones to add the feature to - now it does.

Apple expanding the feature to make it an added bit of smarts for the AirPods bodes well for the future of Apple's potential hearable. We've heard in the past how Apple is considering a more health-focused pair of AirPods.

It is worth noting, of course, that Live Listen for AirPods can't replace hearing aids if you need them. This is a feature designed to help in specific situations, and now to better help AirPods owners get a small taste of some augmented audio.

AirPods can act like hearing aids with Live Listen in iOS 12