How to enable iOS 14’s real-time headphone audio level measurements

In iOS 13, Apple added a hearing feature that prevents users’s ears from being exposed to high levels of sound for extended periods of time. Now, in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple is expanding upon this feature with real-time headphone audio level measurements.

How to enable iOS 14's real-time headphone audio level measurements
iOS 14’s real-time headphone audio level measurements

Filipe Espósito for 9to5Mac:

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.

Also of note, for users of AirPods Pro, AirPods (2nd generation), EarPods, Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro, is the new “Headphone Accommodations” accessibility feature which is designed to amplify soft sounds and adjust certain frequencies for an individual’s hearing, to help music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts sound more crisp and clear. Headphone Accommodations also supports Transparency mode on AirPods Pro, making quiet voices more audible and tuning the sounds of your environment to your hearing needs.

MacDailyNews Note: It’s simple to enable real-time headphone audio level measurements in in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Control Center
  3. Scroll to Hearing
  4. Tap the green + button to add Hearing to Control Center


  1. About time, millions of people have destroyed their hearing thanks to Apple’s earbuds. I cringe every time I can clearly hear the music coming out of someone else’s earbuds!

  2. Many headphones are much quieter than others, and will output fewer decibels given the same signal. Does this measure that somehow? Also, many “volume limit” solutions create problems when a recording is mixed quiet. There is no real agreement on exactly what db the human voice ought to be, and many podcasts are inconsistent anyway. And quiet sections on album rock and classical music can vanish completely when played in a bus or other noisy environment.

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