Headphones have nothing to do with it: Apple told why people go deaf
Apple’s hobby, if not medicine, then at least health tracking technologies has long ceased to be just a hobby. It is now a full-fledged part of the company’s life with a large number of full-time and part-time employees and the result of which really saves lives. Measuring oxygen levels in the blood, taking an ECG, diagnosing tachycardia, detecting falls – all this is just a small part of what Apple has managed to achieve by relying on near-medical technologies. But of course, they don’t want to stop there in Cupertino.
In 2019, Apple announced the start of a hearing study with scientists from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Their goal was to find out what dangers human hearing is exposed to on a daily basis, how common these dangers are, and, most importantly, whether it is possible to minimize their impact in order to protect people and keep their hearing as long as possible.
Anyone from the United States could participate in the study. To do this, it was enough just to download the Apple Research app and register in the research that interests you. Yes, Apple is doing some research at the moment, so you can choose the one that suits your needs or interests.
The course of the research will also depend on this. So, some are based solely on the personal perception of users of specific situations, while others – like hearing research – sometimes require measurements using an iPhone or Apple Watch. In this way, the researchers could obtain objective data on the real level of noise that affects the subjects.
Here’s what the study found:
- One in four people is exposed to louder noises and sounds than is allowed to maintain hearing health, at work or in life;
- Almost half of all people have been exposed to loud noises or sounds in their lifetime for a long time;
- Every tenth person (this is only 10%) listens to music with headphones at a higher volume level than recommended by the WHO;
- 1 in 10 is diagnosed with complete or partial hearing loss, provoked by the peculiarities of work;
- 75% of those with occupational hearing loss do not use a hearing aid or cochlear implant;
- 25% of users experience tinnitus several times a week or more.
It is possible to reduce the impact of noise even with improvised means, says Apple. For this purpose, the company has developed a special application that is available on both iOS and watchOS. iPhone and Apple Watch are capable of measuring noise levels both in the environment and in headphones, which are currently broadcasting music to the user’s ears.
How to keep hearing
It is logical that if the music noise level exceeds the permissible limits, it is better to reduce it, and if the noise comes from an external source, it is necessary to protect your ears with earplugs or special headphones. In this sense, you should not neglect your feelings. After all, if Apple Watch or iPhone notifies you about exceeding the permissible noise limits, and it seems to you that everything is in order, this is a reason to see a doctor. Your hearing may have already changed in some way.
iPhone features for the deaf
If the situation is even worse, and your hearing is permanently lost, iOS has a special set of tools to make it easier for the hearing impaired to use the iPhone. For example, this sound recognition, the definition of sign language in FaceTime, sensory warning of dangerous sounds, of Siri control by typing instead of voice.
Of course, to some, Apple’s research may seem insignificant, but almost all of them, oddly enough, affect the least studied areas of our life. Apple has trained its devices to detect the volume level of the environment, falls, diagnose COVID-19 a week before the onset of symptoms, early diabetes, hypertension and other diseases. True, not all diagnostic techniques were officially allowed to be introduced into her devices, but the fact itself evokes unconditional respect.