Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.
Apple introduced an integrated health app on the iPhone several years ago. Originally, it gave the user information about their basic fitness activities, such as a step count. Over time, it has evolved to give users information about other aspects of their health. This includes other exercise activities like cycling and running, as well as female health tracking for menstrual and fertility cycles.
Apple are now focussing on medical research, prioritising three main areas. These are hearing health, women’s health, and heart and mobility. They are working with the University of Michigan to look at factors that affect hearing health. The ‘Apple Hearing Health Study’ will collect data to better understand how everyday sound exposure impacts on a person’s hearing. They are also working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support their ‘Make Listening Safe’ initiative. It has so far identified that over one billion young people are at risk of losing their hearing due to unsafe listening.
The hearing health section of the Health app will monitor levels of sounds, both in the person’s environment and through their headphones. It will also encourage people to test their hearing through the app. This will allow them to monitor changes in their hearing.
Headphone audio level
You can view the audio levels from your headphones. Decibel levels will be categorised as either ‘OK’ or ‘Loud’.
Environmental sound level
You can view environmental sound levels from the Noise app on Apple Watch. Decibel levels will be categorised as either ‘OK’ or ‘Loud’.
Here, you can view audiograms from hearing tests through the app. It will allow you to track changes in your hearing over time.