The world isn’t always very accessible for those with hearing loss. Communicating can be a struggle, and accessing technology can be a difficult for anyone in the deaf or hard of hearing community. If you’re one of the 40 million Americans with hearing loss, you may have learned some American Sign Language to help you communicate, or have learned to read lips. While these are both great solutions to help you communicate, we have a few favorite apps that can make the world a more accessible place.
Google Live Transcribe
One of the latest apps for those in the hard of hearing community is Google’s Live Transcribe app that uses ASR technology to offer real-time transcription. Speech is picked up by your phone’s microphone, and the app automatically transcribes it into text. If you’re hard of hearing, and worried about understanding what’s been said in meetings, you can use Google Live Translate to make sure you don’t miss out on any important points. In true Google fashion, this app functions in 70 different languages.
Another transcription app is the AVA app that’s great if you’re struggling to hear when you’re out with a group of friends. Ask your friends to connect to the app on their phones, and the phones will all work together to provide real time transcription for the person who’s struggling to hear. The app will display the name of the friend who’s speaking so you won’t get confused, but can easily follow the conversation and catch all the jokes.
One extremely helpful app for people with hearing loss is Voxsci. This app is another speech to text app with a special function. It will translate voicemail messages into text or email so that you can read, save, share, and search through your voicemails without straining to hear, or having to listen to your messages 100 times to make sense of what’s been said.
When it comes to personal safety, or emergency response situations, those with hearing loss are often at a disadvantage. If you can’t hear clearly, calling 9-1-1 and communicating with an operator can be a futile exercise, especially if you’re stressed or scared. That’s where TapSOS comes in. This app won the AbilityNet Tech5Good Digital Health Award last year, and it gives those in the deaf and hard of hearing community a reliable way to communicate in an emergency. Rather than relying on speaking, the app has a very visual design, allowing users to tap the screen to choose what sort of assistance they need.
This app has uses beyond the hard of hearing community, and if you’re struggling to breathe, or are being held against your will, this app can alert emergency services about your situation without the need to speak or communicate verbally. The app also stores personal medical history and information on the device, so that emergency responders will have all the information they need to respond effectively. In addition, it provides your GPS location, so help can find you wherever you are.
Braci Sound Alert
This exciting app is revolutionary when it comes to alerting you to sounds in your environment. You can use the app to record sounds around you, such as the doorbell or the stove alarm. The app will recognize this sound, and notify you with vibrations or flashing lights so you won’t need to worry about missing important sounds around you.
One great app for those who struggle to hear is the Subtitles Viewer! app. When you’re at home it’s easy to turn on subtitles on your TV or computer, but if you’re at a friends house or at the cinema where you can’t control the subtitles, you might find yourself missing out on all the important plot-lines and struggling to keep up. That’s where Subtitles Viewer! can help, and this app allows you to access a massive database of subtitles for movies and TV shows. You can view subtitles in various languages on your device, and the app will synchronize the text with the movie on the TV or at the movie theatre.