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Last year in iOS 13, Apple introduced new hearing features in the Health app that are designed to help users avoid being exposed to high levels of sound when wearing headphones for an extended period of time. In iOS 14, Apple is advancing its hearing features by adding the ability to measure the volume level of what you're listening to in real time.

airpodsapplemusic.jpg

With the new feature, Apple is putting more emphasis on the health dangers of being exposed to high volume audio. Listening to something at 80 decibels (dB) for more than 40 hours in a one-week period increases your risk of hearing loss. Raise it 10 dB to 90, and damage can begin after only four hours a week. Turn it up over 100 dB, and listening for just a few minutes a week can cause damage.

With the new headphone measuring feature, you can check that what you're listening to is being played at an acceptable level for your ears. It's easy to set up and use once you know where it is. The following steps show you how it's done on an ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌ running iOS 14.

How to Set Up the Headphone Level Checker in iOS 14

  1. Launch the Settings app on your ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌.
    Tap Control Center.
  2. Scroll down and tap the green plus (+) button next to Hearing.
    add-hearing-control-center.jpg
How to Use the Headphone Level Checker in iOS 14

The next time you're listening to something on your iOS device over connected headphones, follow these steps.
  1. Launch Control Center: On an ‌iPad‌ with a Home button, double-tap the Home button; on ‌iPhone‌ 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen; and on a 2018 iPad Pro or ‌iPhone‌ X and later, swipe down from the upper right of the screen.
  2. Look at the Hearing button in Control Center. If it has a green tick, you're listening at a healthy volume level. If what you're listening to exceeds the 80-decibel level, the measurement icon will display a yellow exclamation mark, warning you that the volume is too high.
    headphone-level-ios-14.jpg

    For a more detailed picture of the current decibel level, tap the Hearing button.
    Headphone-volume-level-ios-14-1.jpg
The real-time headphone level feature works well with most headphones, but bear in mind that Apple says the measurement is more accurate with AirPods and other Apple-certified headsets.

Article Link: iOS 14: How to Check Headphone Audio Level in Real Time
 

Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
24,572
29,753
In the middle of several books.
!!!! In general, slide the slider to the left or turn the knob counter clockwise to turn the volume down. As a civilization we are now so stupid we can't tell when we have something turned up too loud?
A song sound level may sound reasonable to a listener. That doesn’t necessarily mean the sound is medically safe at that moment, much less long term. Many people get used to loud noises. That doesn’t mean they should continue listening to loud noises

I think you are trivializing an important feature and topic.
 
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Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,405
2,729
Semi-related, but the fact that the lowest two volume notches still sound way too loud whenever I use headphones has always astounded me, and I really wish Apple would give us better management over that in iOS and OSX. I always find myself resorting to apps like Audio Hijack in order to limit it.
 
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NickName99

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2018
946
2,752
!!!! In general, slide the slider to the left or turn the knob counter clockwise to turn the volume down. As a civilization we are now so stupid we can't tell when we have something turned up too loud?

Most guys over 50 I know have significant loss of hearing, from failing to protect their hearing over the years. I try to take better care of my ears, I don’t want to end up another old guy always shouting for people to speak up or repeat themselves. It’s funny how so many of these little macho ideas end up making us weaker in the long run.
 
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einsteinbqat

macrumors 6502
Nov 3, 2012
333
261
Canada
"Control centre" lol iOS 14 already has typos

I don't think that you realise that Brits, Canucks, Aussies, Kiwis, etc., write centre with the R before the E. The R at the end, that's the American way. And we write, neighboUr, flavoUr, coloUr, odoUr, doughnut, etc. USA aren't the centre of everything. 😉
 
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nwcs

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2009
2,064
2,920
Tennessee
If they want to help preserve hearing they should make it so you can limit the device volume in screen limits. Right now you can only limit headphone volume but you need both headphone and device volume limits.

Yes, I submitted that feedback already.
 
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Shirasaki

macrumors G4
May 16, 2015
10,514
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Semi-related, but the fact that the lowest two volume notches still sound way too loud whenever I use headphones has always astounded me, and I really wish Apple would give us better management over that in iOS and OSX. I always find myself resorting to apps like Audio Hijack in order to limit it.
If they want to help preserve hearing they should make it so you can limit the device volume in screen limits. Right now you can only limit headphone volume but you need both headphone and device volume limits.

Yes, I submitted that feedback already.
For both of you, there was a less known feature called “volume limit” under Music setting section near “Sound Check”. In that, you can slide an “arbitrary” slider to limit maximum volume of your iOS device media playback. It is systemwide and its change can be locked by a passcode. I used to drag that slider half way through its max volume cause that is the most comfortable level for me without damaging my hearing.

Now? They replace that slider with such “even more arbitrary” “user friendly” volume monitor and limit feature that barely matches half of the old volume limit feature and doesn’t work as well, and people now see Apple “protecting their hearings”? I’m not buying into this.

Btw, feedback sent, but I have zero hope they will change this from now on.
 
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Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,405
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For both of you, there was a less known feature called “volume limit” under Music setting section near “Sound Check”. In that, you can slide an “arbitrary” slider to limit maximum volume of your iOS device media playback. It is systemwide and its change can be locked by a passcode. I used to drag that slider half way through its max volume cause that is the most comfortable level for me without damaging my hearing.

Now? They replace that slider with such “even more arbitrary” “user friendly” volume monitor and limit feature that barely matches half of the old volume limit feature and doesn’t work as well, and people now see Apple “protecting their hearings”? I’m not buying into this.

Btw, feedback sent, but I have zero hope they will change this from now on.
I've used it before, even on some iPods I've had, and one of the limitations was that it could only reduce the upper limit, but couldn't do anything about reducing the level of the lowest volume setting. The difference between mute and the lowest setting is still a jump up from total silence, and it would be great to have a way to reduce that jump in volume.

What's worse is there's no such thing on OSX that I've found. On the other hand, there are third-party solutions for what I want that I don't think exist on iOS, so the only thing I could really ask for is better sound management that's natively supported. Even Windows has a basic volume control panel, and the best I can manage natively on OSX is to fiddle with the volume in Audio MIDI Setup.
 
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-DMN-

macrumors regular
Jan 21, 2019
239
783
More Freedom than Yours
I don't think that you realise that Brits, Canucks, Aussies, Kiwis, etc., write centre with the R before the E. The R at the end, that's the American way. And we write, neighboUr, flavoUr, coloUr, odoUr, doughnut, etc. USA aren't the centre of everything. 😉
But the USA population is bigger than all those countries COMBINED!!
 
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Jxdawg

macrumors 6502
Dec 17, 2019
313
290
The real-time headphone level feature works well with most headphones, but bear in mind that Apple says the measurement is more accurate with AirPods and other Apple-certified headsets.
Do we know of any technical requirements for this to function? My JLab Jbud Air (BT 4.2) don’t seem to work. Do they have to be BT 5.0?
 
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konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
2,298
3,693
I don't think that you realise that Brits, Canucks, Aussies, Kiwis, etc., write centre with the R before the E. The R at the end, that's the American way. And we write, neighboUr, flavoUr, coloUr, odoUr, doughnut, etc. USA aren't the centre of everything. 😉

Canadian use of -our was invented by the media in the late 90s. It was -or before that.

Besides, the second currency of Canada is Canadian Tire Money, not Canadian Tyre Money.
 
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amartinez1660

macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2014
890
783
Semi-related, but the fact that the lowest two volume notches still sound way too loud whenever I use headphones has always astounded me, and I really wish Apple would give us better management over that in iOS and OSX. I always find myself resorting to apps like Audio Hijack in order to limit it.
I think that’s a bit normal, usually anything senses wise our bodies are used to have a lot of “precision” at subtle ranges where differences in intensity there are highly perceptible. Pretty much like screens and images where the first 50% of the brightness range from black to white uses like 85% of the precision of device’s numerical range / image encoding range (the known “gamma” curve of 8 bits images and monitors), because we can detect quite well the intensity difference between 0.05 and 0.07 levels, but the difference between 1.05 white to 1.07 it’s just still “white”, from 0.99 and up it all looks just white (unless it becomes “too intense” on the eyes but we can’t relay differentiate much).

A difference between -12dB and -13dB I think it’s double the sound’s output volume? Every single dB is double the increase I think it is.
Granted, they could apply a better low range curve where it maybe increases from -30dB to -30.3dB at the first couple of volume steps.
 
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Shirasaki

macrumors G4
May 16, 2015
10,514
4,266
Do we know of any technical requirements for this to function? My JLab Jbud Air (BT 4.2) don’t seem to work. Do they have to be BT 5.0?
Apple AirPods and some beats headphones work the best. For anything else, it’s an estimation based on your phone’s volume level, much less accurate.
 
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Logic368

macrumors member
Oct 17, 2011
74
260
My question is, does iOS 14 still blast full volume alert/ring tones through the headphones when you’re not playing any music? To me, it seems insane that if you set the ringtone volume to a sensible level for headphones, the speaker ringtone volume ALSO decreases when you’re not using headphones...
 
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Shirasaki

macrumors G4
May 16, 2015
10,514
4,266
one of the limitations was that it could only reduce the upper limit, but couldn't do anything about reducing the level of the lowest volume setting.
Interesting. I personally did not pay too much attention to this detail but it was kinda the case iirc.
 
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simonmet

Cancelled
Sep 9, 2012
2,666
3,656
Sydney
It’s not just volume that’s important, but overall balance and how bright the recording/mixing and headphones are. I prefer a “dark” sound signature (with reduced or limited treble) precisely because I can use higher volumes more safely. My hearing is still excellent as a result, despite many, many hours listening at what most would describe as a high volume.

Cheap IEMs can be bad and Apple’s standard ear buds are the worst. They have virtually no mids or bass so people turn them up to try and compensate.

They really should stop making those rubbish ear buds. For the price you pay for a “Pro” phone they should include AirPods too; though I haven’t heard them so I’m not sure what they sound like.
 
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the-tml

macrumors newbie
Feb 12, 2015
8
7
Canadian use of -our was invented by the media in the late 90s. It was -or before that.

I am not a Canadian (or even English native speaker), but I just had to search for counter-evidence to such a bold (and frankly, a bit naïve sounding) claim. I went for the most official examples of English in Canada: Legislation. The "colour" spelling is used for instance in the Trademarks Act from 1985: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/T-13/FullText.html And "centre" is used in the Canada-Germany Tax Agreement Act, 1982 https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-5.85/FullText.html .
 
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TheIntruder

macrumors 65816
Jul 2, 2008
1,389
889
Do we know of any technical requirements for this to function? My JLab Jbud Air (BT 4.2) don’t seem to work. Do they have to be BT 5.0?

It is not related to BT, and that statement is very presumptive, if not somewhat misleading.

Every set of headphones has its own sensitivity ratings -- basically, how much sound pressure they produce when a standard voltage level is applied.

Apple knows (but doesn't publicize) the figure for its headphones, so it can reasonably say that at X voltage, the result will by Y decibels, and it can be taken to be true.

However, it cannot ensure that it will apply to all headphones; some will be more efficient than Apple's, and be louder given the same input voltage, and some less efficient, and softer at that voltage.

It can assume that most headphones that people use fall within a certain range of sensitivity, and that that scale is close enough, but that undermines the premise of presenting a specific numeric figure, and its accuracy.

This is similar to the Battery Health figure, but in some ways worse. Apple derives that figure from its own undisclosed criteria, but at least doesn't try to apply that to batteries in general. Sound pressure levels are easily, and objectively measurable, and despite the sometimes loosey-goosey games played with specs in CE marketing, mostly adheres to certain known standards.

It will not be wise to put much faith into the presented measurement if Apple permits the feature to be used with non-Apple headphones, and the "more accurate" statement can be construed as disingenuous.
 
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