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AirPods improve conversations for those with mild hearing challenges

Less than five years after being introduced, AirPods aren't just popular, they're ubiquitous. The tiny white earphones are used for calls, podcasts, music. At its recent developers conference, Apple announced that it's taking AirPods Pro functionality to a new level, with a feature called Conversation Boost.

Conversation Boost makes it easier for an AirPods wearer to hear someone they're having a face-to-face conversation with by isolating that person's voice, even in a noisy environment. This is achieved through computational audio and beamforming microphones — the tiny microphones inside AirPods can identify and lock onto a signal source based on who the hearer is facing and the direction of their voice. With Conversation Boost switched on, the user can also control how much ambient noise is let in.

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Developed primarily for people with mild hearing challenges, Apple's new feature also provides benefits to others who might have trouble focusing on the person they're speaking with. Because they're tired, have sensory overload or just a bad cold that's temporarily affecting their hearing. 

It's an example of a trend we've dubbed OMNIBILITY, focusing on the need to make your products and services more accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities — and how increased accessibility for a specific group often makes life easier for all. Check out the free briefing for more smart examples!