Use bone conduction headphones as a hearing aid with iOS 12 "Live Listening"

The "Live monitoring" function under iOS 12 there is basically nothing new on the Apple iPhone. IOS 11 also offers the option of using the smartphone as a microphone to listen in real time via hearing aids and to better understand what others are saying. What is new under iOS 12 is that the hearing aid used for "live monitoring" is no longer mandatory MFi-certified have to be; it can also be a simple Bluetooth headset or Apple AirPods, and for the severely hearing impaired, for example, bone conduction headphones. How, what and why, I'll explain that to you in this post.

Use "Live Listening" on the iPhone and bone conduction headphones under iOS 12 - this brings you a hearing aid replacement even if the eardrum is damaged. Details here and in the test of a corresponding Bluetooth headphone (see link).
Use “live monitoring” on the iPhone and bone conduction headphones under iOS 12 – this gives you a hearing aid replacement, even if the eardrum is damaged. Details here and in the test of a corresponding Bluetooth headset (see link).

Live monitoring in iOS 12 + bone conduction headphones

You can currently listen live via Apple iPhone and a corresponding hearing aid that is certified for use with i devices (including iPad and iPod Touch). From autumn 2018, this restriction will be lifted under iOS 12 and you can, for example, use the Apple AirPod headphones or other Bluetooth headphones as a hearing aid. In addition to the use in everyday life for conversations in the group, when visiting the grandchildren or when visiting the grandparents as hearing-impaired grandchildren, many other scenarios are also possible; for example at university, in the office or when shopping.

From autumn 2018, bone conduction headphones will be ideal for the "live listening" function under iOS 12 if the hearing impairment goes beyond age or illness of the sense of hearing. If, for example, the eardrum is damaged, the audio signals can still be carried to the auditory nerve by sound in the bone. What such headphones with bone conduction technology can do and how they can help you (live) listening under "difficult conditions", I have you in the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium review summarized. 

Does that make the Apple iPhone a bugging tool?

What shouldn't be a big innovation for most iPhone users is certainly a very helpful new feature of iOS 12 for the hearing impaired. For "live monitoring" you no longer need an MFi hearing aid, but soon only Bluetooth headphones. Many will make an aluminum hat for this and see the Apple smartphone as the next potential bug for hobby spies. But you would have to hide the expensive device somewhere or even leave it lying around. And who does that? In my opinion, there are few scenarios in which the iPhone is the tool of choice when spying on people.

Activate live monitoring and set it up as a shortcut

Currently as well as with iOS 11, the function can already be used with hearing aids that are "Made For iPhone", as mentioned above. To activate (and deactivate) the function, proceed as follows:

  1. Select the menu as follows: Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Hearing aids
  2. Under devices Tap the hearing aid you are using
  3. On command Start live monitoring tippen
  4. Place the iPhone in front of the person (s) to be listened to

Whether at the boss's speech at the company meeting, at the lecture at the university or at the family celebration, where everyone is talking confused and you only want to follow one conversation partner - this is how you can use the function. To deactivate the feature again, follow the same menu path and then tap on End live monitoring. To bypass the menu, you can also make a shortcut for the lock screen (quickly press the home button three times):

Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Hearing aids -> Control on lock screen

Do you have any questions, thoughts, suggestions or tips and tricks on the topic, please leave a comment! You can also get the above instructions with pictures as well as further information on the current status of the features presented on the iPhone in Apple Support Document HT203990.

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4 comments on “Use bone conduction headphones as a hearing aid with iOS 12 “Live Monitoring””

    1. Well, that's not done here at all. Because this post is about the use of an iPhone function by individuals. Alexa and Co. play no role. On the subject of voice assistants and their listening in at perhaps inconvenient times, there are in this newsreel some information;)

      Best regards

  1. I just tried this function once - it doesn't work at all!
    The sound is "awful", distorted and the speaker is almost impossible to understand unless they speak directly into the cell phone microphone, which is apparently not intended that way.

    Conclusion: Put your fingers off it, if absolutely necessary, go to the hearing care professional and have an inexpensive hearing amplifier fitted for you. Shouldn't be more expensive than an iPhone + AirPODS either.


    1. Hello Tom! Thanks for your assessment. I haven't tried it yet. But maybe bad quality is still better than nothing. But I think you're right: if you have problems with the eavesdroppers, a real hearing aid would be a better alternative!

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