Environmental Sound Exposure Feature for the iOS 12

The introduction of Airpods has a major impact on how consumers interact with sound. There are more and more people have their Airpods on all the time. It has become a trend that can be alarming. According to Mayo Clinic, a long term exposure to loud noise will damage the cells of your inner ear. Even though, the second generation of Airpods has the noise cancellation feature, it does not really mean to keep the volume at a safe level. In addition to that, the feature itself doesn’t really cancel out the noise perfectly.

The good news is that Apple just introduces the Environmental Sound Level Exposure in Health on iPhone. The bad news is that it is only available on iOS 14.2 or later according iPhone User Guide. This is a dark pattern that Apple tries to get users to upgrade to a new phone.

After the research and analysis as discussed above, I see the opportunity to redesign the old iOS to have the Environmental Sound Level Exposure feature. As a result, old iPhone owners won’t be leaving behind by designing from the hearing impairment stand point as mentioned by Liz Jackson talk.

Below is sketches of the Environmental Sound Exposure Feature in Health application for the iOS 12.

Environmental Sound Level Exposure Feature for iOS 12

Learn more about Designing for Inclusivity and Disability

Liz Jackson: Designing for Inclusivity

Disability & Innovation: The Universal Benefits of Accessible Design, by Haben Girma @ WWDC 2016


Deafness and hearing loss by WHO, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss, Access on Dec 1, 2020.

Hearing loss overview by Mayo Clinic website, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20373072, Access on Dec 1, 2020.

Track headphone and environmental sound-level exposure in Health on iPhone by Apple, https://support.apple.com/guide/iphone/track-headphone-environmental-sound-level-iph1df080ecc/14.0/ios/14.0, Access on Dec 1, 2020.

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