Skip to content

Apple Hearing Study: What You Need to Know


Everything You Need to Know About the Apple Hearing Study | Soundwave Hearing Care

Hearing loss in adults over twenty has climbed over the past few years and is expected to nearly double over the next few decades. Our daily exposure to sound is increasing and the risk of hearing loss is increasing with it.

This is true because of both environmental sound and increased use of personal headphones and earbuds. Hearing loss due to loud music is an especially notable cause of increases in hearing problems among young people.

The recent Apple hearing study shed some light on the hearing risks the average person faces every day. Read on to discover the findings of Apple’s hearing study, and to learn how to protect your ears in the long term.

Apple Hearing Study: What You Need to Know

For the WHO’s World Hearing Day, Apple has released a new study in partnership with the WHO and the University of Michigan. The study uses data from thousands of users to track long-term exposure to both environmental sound and headphone sound. It uses headphone data as well as the Noise app on Apple Watch.

The iOS Research App

The iOS Research App uses the Apple Watch and iPhone to capture health data for large-scale studies. The data is privately shared with medical facilities to be analyzed and put into data sets.

Conducting medical studies with a large number of users has been expensive and time-consuming until recent innovations. Now, using devices most people use every day can help to increase our knowledge of the effects of daily sound exposure, mobility, and more.

Apple’s March 2021 Hearing Study: Facts and Figures

The recent Apple hearing health study is one of the largest-scale hearing studies of the past decade. Thousands of users contributed data on their daily headphone use and ambient sound exposure. The study lasted one year.

Using this data can help researchers take steps to protect hearing in the future. The findings can be applied to diverse fields such as architecture, urban design, and personal electronics. Here are some of the most important hearing loss statistics from Apple’s research:

  • 25 percent of users experienced environmental sound exposure higher than the WHO recommended limit. This includes noise produced by construction, traffic, and public transit.
  • 50 percent of participants work in a loud workplace.
  • 10 percent of participants had daily headphone exposure louder than the WHO’s recommended limit.
  • An additional 10 percent have been diagnosed with hearing loss by a medical professional.
  • Of those, 75 percent do not use any hearing assistance. Hearing assistance such as a hearing aid can help to slow hearing damage.
  • 50 percent of participants have not had their hearing tested in the past ten years.
  • 25 percent of participants experience ringing sounds in their ears more than once a week. This is a potential sign of hearing loss.

For more information from the Apple hearing study, click here to read the full white paper.

Taking Steps to Protect Your Hearing

Hearing damage is caused when sound waves are strong enough to damage the tiny hair cells in your inner ear (cochlea). The cells relay sounds to the brain. As they are damaged, they become less effective at translating sound waves.

Inner ear damage never heals. Unlike most parts of your body, inner ear cells will not regenerate over time. That means it is important to prevent permanent damage before it happens.

Hearing loss levels are increasing in both adults and children.

The Apple hearing health study reveals that most people are not taking adequate steps to protect their hearing. Here are several simple changes you can make to prevent hearing loss.

On Your Apple Smartphone

Apple is integrating hearing protection measures into its Health software as well as into iPhones, MacBooks, and AirPods.

Their Noise app can send a notification when the environmental noise level is too high. This allows you to recognize when an area is too noisy, and use protection or move to a quieter area.

Setting up Headphone Preferences on your Apple device allows you to customize your headphone audio to your unique ear shape. This allows you to listen at a lower volume and still hear a full range of sounds.

Users with hearing aids or other devices can sync them directly with an Apple device. Over 200 different hearing aids are compatible with Apple sound.

In Everyday Life

You don’t need technology to protect your hearing every day. The most important step you can take is to reduce your exposure to loud noises. If you work in a loud environment, wear earplugs or take regular breaks to give your ears a rest.

Hearing loss due to loud music statistics have shown that music is a major driver of hearing loss. If you wear earbuds or headphones daily, follow the 60/60 rule.

This refers to listening to music or watching a movie at no more than 60 percent of the maximum volume, and ideally for no more than 60 minutes per day.

Many people use earbuds for longer than 60 minutes per day. Those people should make sure to keep the volume at a lower level – preferably under 50 or 40 percent.

Using noise-canceling headphones or earbuds with a seal or noise-canceling function can prevent you from turning up the volume too loud. The more your headphones have to compete with your environment for space, the more likely you are to damage your hearing.

Contacting a Hearing Specialist or Audiologist in Calgary, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge & High River

As the Apple hearing study showed, nearly 50 percent of people do not regularly have their hearing tested for signs of loss. Hearing is one of the most important senses yet is all too often overlooked until it is too late.

It is important to be vigilant for signs of hearing loss. This is especially true if you work in a loud workplace or find yourself using headphones often.

Our audiology clinic provides hearing tests and hearing care solutions. We are located in Calgary, Grande Prairie, High River, and Lethbridge. Contact us today to schedule a hearing checkup.

All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.