Apple added a hearing feature in iOS 13 last year to prevent users from being exposed to high levels of sound with headphones for extended periods of time. The company is now expanding this feature with real-time audio level measurements in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14.
Previously with iOS 13, iPhone users were already able to check the audio level from headphones. You can find this information by searching for “Headphone Audio Levels” in the Health app. From there, users can check the audio level records in decibels and also whether they’re fine or too loud.
Repeated and long-term exposure to sounds below 80 decibels is considered “OK” while repeated and long-term exposure to sound above this level can lead to permanent hearing damage. The measurement is done automatically when you use compatible headphones, such as AirPods and AirPods Pro.
Beginning with iOS 14, you can measure headphone audio levels in real-time with a new option available in Control Center. This new feature has a similar interface to the Apple Watch Noise app, which measures the audio levels of the environment instead of headphones.
If what you’re hearing exceeds the 80-decibel level, the measurement icon will turn yellow instead of green. While this works with most headphones, Apple says the measurement is more accurate with AirPods and other certified headsets.
If you’re already running iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 on your iPhone or iPad, use the following steps to enable real-time headphone audio level measurements:
- Open the Settings app
- Tap on Control Center
- Swipe down and look for the Hearing option
- Tap the green “+” button to add Hearing to Control Center
The next time you access Control Center while listening to a song with headphones, you’ll see the audio measurement icon in action.
iOS 14 is expected to be available to the public this fall. A public beta version will be available sometime in July.
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