Note: This guide is intended for those with low vision and is therefore detailed for users of VoiceOver as well as those who use the screen.

If you’ve ever noticed that you can’t quite hear the person sitting across from you at the dinner table in a restaurant, or the noise around you is just too distracting for a conversation, why not try Live Listen with your iPhone.

All you need is an iPhone, a Made For iPhone (MFI) hearing aid or a pair of Apple’s AirPods and you can get started. The feature enables the microphone in your phone to be sent directly to either the hearing aid(s) or Apple AirPods so you can hear the conversation more clearly.

How To Use Live Listen With Made For iPhone (MFI) Hearing Aids

Note: VoiceOver users should read any instruction to ‘tap’ as a ‘double tap’ gesture.

  • Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > MFi Hearing Devices.
  • Tap your hearing aid under ‘Devices’.
  • Tap ‘Start Live Listen’.
  • Place the device in front of the person you want to hear.

To turn Live Listen off:

  • Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > MFi Hearing Devices.
  • Tap the name of your hearing aid under ‘Devices’.
  • Tap ‘End Live Listen’.

You can also use the Accessibility Shortcut to turn Live Listen on and off or control other features of your hearing aid. Set up the Accessibility Shortcut (link goes to Apple’s support website) to include Live Listen. To use the Accessibility Shortcut, quickly press the Home button three times. On iPhone X and later, triple-click the side button.

The Accessibility Shortcut lets you do these things:

  • Start or end Live Listen
  • View battery life
  • Adjust the volume for either or both hearing aids
  • Choose an audio preset

To use the Accessibility Shortcut from the Lock screen, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > MFi Hearing Devices and turn on Control on Lock Screen.

How To Use Live Listen With Apple AirPods

Note: To use Live Listen with your AirPods, your iOS device needs iOS 12 or later. You also need to connect your AirPods to your device.

To get started, you need to add Live Listen to the iPhone Control Centre: (VoiceOver users should again read any instruction to ‘tap’ as a ‘double tap’ gesture)

  • Go to Settings > Control Centre.
  • Tap Customise Controls.
  • Scroll down and tap next to Hearing. (Voiceover users should choose the option to ‘Insert Hearing’.)
  • Tap Back to save the setting.

To use Live Listen:

  • Open Control Centre by swiping up from the bottom edge of any screen. On iPhone X or later or iPad with iOS 12 or later, swipe down from the upper-right corner of the screen. If you use Voiceover, tap the top of the screen on your device to move the VoiceOver focus to the status bar. Then swipe up with three fingers from the bottom of the screen.
  • Tap the icon that looks like a large ear. VoiceOver users can swipe until you find a button called ‘Hearing Devices’. Select to continue.
  • Select your AirPods from the list that is displayed. Voiceover users should swipe once to the right to hear this option. Double tap to select.

And that’s it. Place your phone in front of the person that you want to hear. Make sure to adjust the volume on your device if you can’t hear well enough.

If you can’t connect to your AirPods or if Live listen won’t turn on, make sure that Bluetooth is on and that your AirPods are charged.

Have you used this feature? Did you find it useful. Leave us a comment below.


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