Best Apps for Deaf and Hard of Hearing | Useful apps for day-to-day use

Hullah is looking for the best app to help her hear and communicate better. Not only is she going to need different supports for different reasons, but also she doesn’t want to buy so many technical devices to help with one thing at a time. It’s already expensive to own hearing aids, but when she needs better amplification, clarity, or to make life easier at moments in her life. 

For the longest time, devices and equipment were the thing you sought to get extra hearing care support. Your local hearing service shop or association would be able to sell whatever they had in stock. With the invention of smartphones, apps provides opportunity for people like Hullah to be able to benefit from many options under one device. The benefits of apps have really open doors to better experiences and access than ever before.

Brand Lock-in Problem

Many hearing care companies benefit from building designated hardware devices for a profit. For example, buying one amplifier for your telephone, another amplifier for your TV, and then another alerting device can all add up. Moreover, having a specific device for specific tasks can enable manufacturers to stay profitable. It will ensure that you will continue to purchase their device and all the accessories to keep you on forever, even if the product is good or not. 

Android v.s. iPhone

Similarly, we all feel the pain with android and iPhone devices. If you start with an iPhone, you buy all the Apple complementary accessories. Before you know it, the next time you find something interesting for a non-compatible device, you continue to stay with what you have. In this case, you feel forced to decide not to buy it. If you do switch, you will lose everything that you own. Comparatively, many traditional alerting devices and other technologies are just like that. 

Why settle?!

Apps are an excellent way of not getting locked into another expensive device. Notably, our mobile phones have all the components of hearing aids, stereo systems and many more things. Indeed, an app can help leverage these components without buying another device.

Benefits of apps

Another thing is apps don’t take long to ship and travel to your mailbox. So when you get access to an app you want, you can download and use it right away. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about the crazy shipping cost to get the device over to you. Additionally, you don’t need to travel far to get the app at a physical store.

I will share some useful apps in this article to help with basic day-to-day things. We’ll go beyond the speech-to-text or sound recognition apps. We’ll explore apps that have the potential to make our life more productive and convenient.

Ear Testing

Mimi

If you are ever curious about any gradual decline in your hearing loss, this app can test your hearing. It’s a quick way to get an answer before a more professional hearing test. That is to say, while you’re waiting for your next appointment, you can evaluate if you are experiencing some changes.

Shoebox Audio

The pandemic has made it difficult for us to go to the audiologist during the lockdown. However, having a remote hearing test without meeting in person is an option for you and your audiologist. Shoebox initially started this app to help people in remote areas who didn’t have access to hearing health professionals.

World Wide Hearing

Similarly, World Wide Hearing has a mobile diagnostic device that enables people in developing countries to access hearing care where healthcare professionals are scarce. As a matter of fact, there could be one audiologist for a million citizens with hearing loss in some countries.

Sound Amplification & Clarification 

HeardThat

You can turn your smartphone into an external microphone to enable you to hear better at restaurants and social gatherings. In the light of the many hearing aids that can connect to our smartphones these days, you’ll be able to hear other people’s voices a lot clearer. 

Sonic Cloud

Understanding that everyone has a unique hearing experience, Sonic Cloud provides personalized hearing. Their app allows you to customize your hearing loss and capture the quality of sound from various audio platforms like video conferencing, audiobooks, music, podcast and radios to name a few.

Jacoti

There are three apps under this brand. First, you can use the Jacoti Listening App as a spare hearing aid if your hearing aid is out for repair. Second, Jacoti Hearing Center allows you to check your hearing with a hearing test. Finally, JacotiLola is the new digital FM system that connects the speakers’ device and your device to get clear audio communication.

Sound Amplifier (Google)

You can quickly customize sounds and limit background noise using your headphones and Android phone. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work well for ear pods without noticing the audio delay. Sound Amplifier is an accessibility feature available on your android device. No download is required.

Conversation Boost, Headphone Accommodation & Live Listen

Similar to Google’s android device, there are several ways to clarify sounds from your iPod (Conversation Boost), headphones (Headphone Accommodation) or using your smartphone (Live Listen). These also available under your accessibility feature.

VoiceItt

We may have a deaf accent or an accent that doesn’t get picked up by traditional voice assistant applications when we speak. Not to mention, getting Alexa or Suri to understand what you repeatedly say can be annoying. But, with the help of software that comprehends what we are trying to say, it can make using our voice assistant a lot easier.

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Lipreading support

Read Our Lips

If you had a hearing loss before closed captioning was a thing, you understand the value of lip reading. Lip reading is a skill that takes practice, but it can help fill in the words to gain better comprehension. Read Our Lips gives you the training you need without finding a local class or a convenient time to attend near you.

Livestream captioning

Ai-Media live captions

Ideally, you can add live captioning for event organizers or people setting up meetings. This time the captioning can be aided by a designated person to ensure accuracy. They also have multilingual automated captioning if you want to receive the text in another language.

Noise level monitor

Soundprint app

Some venues, particularly restaurants, are very loud, which is a place you don’t want to visit. There’s nothing worse than being alone in the company of people because you can hear enough to have a conversation. Soundprint app can allow you to measure the noise volume to decide if you want to stay any longer or find some quiet spaces. 

ASL Support

Signly

Going to the museum with an audio-guided tour or reading some bank documents may not be in an accessible format. So having the content in sign language and accessible by a code that enables you to view the content in ASL becomes handy.

The ASL App

ASL may not be your first language, but it’s never too late to learn. Imagine being conversational in ASL. The ASL app will make you feel confident communicating with others who sign.

Sign-Speak

If you ever work with people or go to stores where others don’t understand sign language, Sign-Speak will be able to translate sign language to text. It makes it handy to communicate without an interpreter with you every where you go.

Emergency Apps

TapSOS

Emergency communications have not been accessible for many reasons. When you call or text 999 in the UK or 911 in North America, there are many questions required to complete in any emergency call. Typing and texting can make it challenging to do. This app simplifies the information needed so that you can get help faster. 

Text with 911 is Canada’s and United States’ answer to emergency calls but is limited to some provinces or states. Deaf911 is rolling out a new solution to improve access.

Phone call Apps

Various Relay Apps

Gone are the days of using TTY. Now relay apps are available if you live in the UK, US (and T-mobile is your service provider ), Australia or Canada. Some provide either video or text communications, depending on what you prefer.

Real-Time Text

Your Apple and Android devices can use Real-Time Text, which allows you to connect with a TTY or just text. It’sIt’s like texting, but you can text in real-time, and people can see you typing in real-time. The device works based on your service provider and may not work overseas.

Pedius

Similarly, Pedius is an app that allows you to make a phone call. You can speak orally or by typing your message. All audio communication from the other line comes with closed captioning. Pedius is used in many places worldwide, and companies can use it for conference (phone) calls.

RogerVoice

RogerVoice started making it possible for people to get their phone calls captioned without worrying about not picking up the words or hear clearly. In addition, companies can add RogerVoice to allow deaf and hard-of-hearing speakers to speak to their customer service agents. Phonak, the hearing aid brand, appears to have partnered with RogerVoice to offer a similar offering with their myCall-to-Text app to communicate in multiple languages.

InnoCaption

The government provides free phone call captioning for US citizens using their smartphones. This app is suitable for oral communication. Unfortunately, there’s no option to text the other person if you do not want to talk. 

CaptionMate

Like InnoCaption, CaptionMate provides a free app because the product is fully funded by the US government for Americans. It allows both you and the caller to have access to the transcription to read together. The app can work on your computer as well.

Olelo

Olelo offers caption calls and it’s been rated to have high accuracy. You can save the transcripts of your call but all use it to call 911 or get caption for your voice mail as well. Again, this is for US citizens only.

Purple

Purple is a multifaceted company that offers a wide range of virtual interpreter services anywhere you are in the US. Not only can you use their app on a smartphone but you can use it from the internet or their special custom device made with Cisco. ZVRS provides similar services.

Others

Android’s Live Caption for smartphone devices and iPhone’s Closed Caption feature using Facetime or the HomePod also provide real-time captioning for oral communications, all available on your smartphone accessibility feature.

Conclusion

There are many solutions to download from the internet. Each with a specific purpose to support our needs at various times. We’ll greatly benefit from not having a significant upfront cost. Equally, we will be able to try and explore more options without having to settle for what we can have or get.

Get More Like This

The world is out of earshot for us! Here at Lisnen, we try to make sense of all that noise. Find new insights bi-weekly by clicking the button below.

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