How to Use Live Listen With Apple’s AirPods


Your AirPods can function as hearing aids thanks to “Live Listen” in iOS 12. This feature uses your iPhone (or iPad) as a directional microphone, capturing sound and reducing noise before piping it through your AirPods.

Live Listen has been around since 2016, but originally only worked with MFi-certified hearing aids. In iOS 12, it works with Apple’s own AirPods, too.

How “Live Listen” Works

When you enable Live Listen, your iPhone or iPad functions as a remote microphone that captures audio, reduces noise, and increases the volume before sending it straight to the AirPods in your ears.

For example, if you’re in a noisy restaurant, you could place your phone on the table, activate Live Listen, and have your iPhone pick up the conversation and play it through your AirPods. Someone could even talk directly into your iPhone’s microphone and you’d hear them clearly on your AirPods.

Or, if you have trouble hearing the television at a normal volume level, you could place your iPhone near your television and sit across the room. You could have your television at a normal volume level and listen through your AirPods.

While this feature is useful, it’s still not a complete substitute for dedicated hearing aids for people with hearing loss.

RELATED: What’s New in iOS 12, Coming to Your iPhone and iPad This Fall

How to Activate Live Listen

First, take your AirPods out…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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