Apple in 2014 introduced a Live Listen feature that’s designed to allow the iPhone to pair with hearing aids and then serve as a remote microphone that beams the audio the iPhone picks up to the hearing aids.
As noted by TechCrunch, Live Listen is coming to the AirPods with the iOS 12 update, letting iPhone users position their iPhones as a directional mic and have the audio relayed through the AirPods.
With this feature, an iPhone user could, for example, put an iPhone on the table in a noisy restaurant and then have the voice of whomever is speaking routed to the AirPods as a stand-in for hearing aids for those who are hard of hearing or need a bit of extra help separating voices in a loud environment.
Live Listen with AirPods is not going to replace a traditional hearing aid and people with hearing issues should still get a checkup from a doctor, but this feature is handy for people who need something in a pinch without carrying extra hardware.
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