In the test: AirPods Pro as hearing protection at a heavy metal concert

The transparency mode of the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Can be used as hearing protection at loud concerts. Because it ensures that the headphones allow the ambient audio to pass through, but regulate it to a more bearable level. So if you don't want to have ringing ears for two days after a heavy metal concert, you can give this a try. This also saves you having to buy additional hearing protection. Everything you need to know about the topic can be found below. At the end there is a video experience report.

I used the AirPods Pro at a concert and am amazed at how well the transparency mode protects the ears (Photo: Sir Apfelot).
I used the AirPods Pro at a concert and am amazed at how well the transparency mode protects the ears (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

Quick info: Use AirPods Pro as hearing protection

  • The transparency mode is actually offered for temporarily bypassing active noise cancellation (ANC), but can also be used as hearing protection.
  • Activating the transparency mode is done by pressing the AirPods Pro stems for about 1 second.
  • The technology (microphones and sound drivers) is not switched off, but is used to reproduce the environment at a pleasant listening volume.
  • Loud tones and noises that could otherwise damage hearing are reduced to a maximum volume.
  • The advantage over foam or silicone earplugs is that the music continues to sound as desired, without swallowed highs, muffled mids and excessive bass.

Advantages of AirPods Pro

Unlike ear plugs made of foam (colloquially ear plugs) or hearing protectors made of silicone that are used in individual situations, many people already know the Apple AirPods from everyday life. Anyone who travels on public transport or in other crowded places will certainly have used the active noise cancellation.

If an important announcement comes up or you get into a conversation but don't want to take the AirPods out of your ears, then transparency mode is a useful tool. The headphones have the advantage that you already know their sound, comfort and use. Unlike other hearing protection solutions, use at a concert is more intuitive.

The cheaper option is hearing protection plugs like these, which are specifically designed for concerts (Photo: Sir Apfelot).
The cheaper option is hearing protection plugs like these, which are specifically designed for concerts (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

AirPods Pro vs. regular earplugs

Another advantage of the Apple earphones is that they provide a much better sound profile than earplugs that are more commonly used on loud machines or for undisturbed sleep in a hostel. These often result in a distorted and mushy sound, from which special moments can hardly be heard.

It is not uncommon for them to swallow up important highs, dampen mid-range tones and ensure that lower frequencies drown out everything else. The result can vary depending on the genre and instruments, but if you attend a wider range of concerts or are into metal, the AirPods Pro will be best for you (see video at the end).

Earplugs for concerts

If you still prefer to use these earplugs, you should such models here Look for ones that attenuate all frequencies evenly and thereby obtain a natural sound:

Senner ® PartyPro | Hearing protection for music & musicians - earplugs for festivals, concerts,...
  • PREMIUM HEARING PROTECTION with an SNR of 18dB. The PartyPro earplugs offer you first-class noise reduction...
  • PRESERVES SOUND QUALITY thanks to special membrane filters from Senner. The Party Earplugs guarantee a faithful sound...
  • NEARLY INVISIBLE AND OPTIMAL FIT of the hearing protection thanks to triple slats that adapt to your ear and...
40,00 EUR
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with MagSafe Case (USB-C)​​​​​
  • The Apple-developed H2 chip provides the power for the AirPods Pro and makes their advanced audio...
  • The low distortion and specially designed drivers and amplifiers deliver brilliant highs and deep, rich...
  • Adaptive Audio dynamically mixes Transparency mode and Active Noise Cancellation for the best...

Tip: straps for the earphones

Depending on the concert, there is sometimes more and sometimes less movement in the audience. The risk of losing one of the AirPods in the crowd is correspondingly small or large. One wrong step and an expensive new purchase is imminent. And even without a mosh pit, pogo or tango, you can be jostled or simply send one of the earplugs on a plane ride because of a careless quick movement. To prevent that from happening, there is Retaining straps, which you attach to the stems of the AirPods. The band, with an AirPod at each end, then runs behind the neck and catches falling earphones.

rootful.® 2X AirPods lanyard [RELIABLE] holder for sports, travel and much more. - AirPods accessories...
  • ☑️ [100% COMPATIBILITY]: The straps are compatible with AirPods 1st, 2nd and 3rd generations as well as Airpods ...
  • ☑️ [OPTIMAL LENGTH]: 2 bands in black and white. The length of the rootful. Urban Essentials AirPods...
  • ☑️ [SAFETY]: Thanks to the reliable strap for your headphones, you protect your Airpods from loss and ...

Sound adjustments in the iPhone settings

If you want to adjust the sound of the Apple AirPods Pro in transparency mode, you can use the connected iPhone to do this:

Simply navigate to

  • Settings
  • Accessibility
  • Audio & Visual
  • then activates the headphone adjustments there

The audio tuning “Balanced Tones” is usually suitable for concerts, but there is also “Vocal Range” for conversations and “Treble” for corresponding purposes. The sound optimization for “Balanced Tones” can be adjusted from light to medium to strong using a slider in the selection.

First-hand experience: AirPods Pro 2 tested at the heavy metal concert

As you can see in the following video, there were no problems when testing the Apple AirPods Pro as hearing protection at a metal concert. The technology worked, the batteries lasted, there were no strange looks or ridicule (people with AirPods are nothing new or unusual anymore) and overall it was a good experience. So: a clear recommendation!

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