How to Use Live Listen with AirPods

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Thanks to “Live Listen” iOS 12 version, AirPods can now function as hearing aids. This feature will take advantage of your iOS device as a directional microphone, which records sound and reduces noise before piping it through the AirPods.

Live Listen was first introduced in 2016, but it only worked with MFi-certified hearing aids. However, in iOS 12, it supports Apple’s AirPods, too.

How “Live Listen” Works

When you turn on Live Listen, your iOS device will function as a remote microphone to capture audio, cut down noise, as well as increase the volume before sending it to your AirPods.

For instance, when you are in a restaurant, you could sit down and place your phone on the table with Live Listen activated. Your iPhone can pick up the conversation and then play it through your AirPods. Someone might talk directly to your iPhone’s microphone and it will be transmitted clearly to your AirPods.

If you get trouble in hearing the television at a normal volume level, simply put your iPhone near the television and sit on the sofa. You could then listen to your television at a normal volume level through your AirPods. Although it is a useful feature, it’s still not a complete substitute for dedicated hearing aids.

How to Activate Live Listen

To activate Live Listen, you first need to take your AirPods out of their case and put them in your ears.

Now, on your iOS device, go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. From there, note the “Hearing” option, which is under the “More Controls” section and then tap on the plus sign in order to add it to Control Center. You can also drag it up or down if you want to rearrange your Control Center icons.

In case you don’t see the “Hearing” option, make sure that your AirPods is powered on and is connected to your iPhone/ iPad. Moreover, the option does not also appear if you don’t have compatible hardware connected, or your device is not running on iOS 12 version.

You can now enable/disable Live Listen directly from the Control Center. To open it on your iPhone, simply swipe it up from the bottom of the screen. On iPhone X or iPad models, just swipe down from the top right corner to access Control Center.


Tap on the ear-shaped Live Listen icon to turn on Live Listen mode.

Live Listen will be “Off” at first, so you have to tap anywhere in the Live Listen section to enable it.

Once the Live Listen is “On”, it displays a volume level monitor. Now, audio from your iPhone/iPad’s microphone will play through your AirPods when Live Listen is turned on. If you want to increase or decrease the volume, just use the volume controls on your iPhone /iPad.

Your iOS will continue recording audio and then send it to your AirPods even when the screen is not on. There will be a red microphone icon next to other status icons at the top while Live Listen is turned on.

If you no longer want to use Live Listen, just open the Control Center, tap on Live Listen icon again to toggle it off.

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