Partial hearing loss and deafness are impairments that need various lifestyle changes. Most of the technology we normally use neither cater to this specifically nor they are designed in such a way that aid in making daily work easier. However, there are some apps that break that belief and helps people with normal hearing but also others with hearing impairments. So, here are top apps for hearing impaired and deaf people.
One in eight people in the United States (30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears.
Top Apps for Hearing Impaired and Deaf People
1. The ASL App
Sign language is not only an effective medium for hearing-impaired but also an important skill for normal people to communicate with a hearing-impaired person. An easy way to learn sign language quickly is the ASL App (American Sign Language). This helps in learning conversational sign language with video lessons. You can adjust the speed to match it to your pace. There’s also a slow-motion option along with quick info and tips. If you want to learn a specific sign you can quickly use the search option and tag it for quick reference in the favorite folder.
Lifeprint is also a good web app to learn ASL.
The ASL app follows a freemium model. Basic alphabets, numbers, universal gestures, and hand shape exercises are fore free. In order to learn specific signs like mood swings, country names, etc., you have to pay $0.99 or buy the entire collection for $9.99.
2. Petralex Hearing Aid
Hearing loss is a prevalent impairment amongst most people. While you should buy a hearing aid due to various reasons, there are times when you don’t have one at your disposal. Worry not, this app lets you convert your phone into a hearing aid. The Petralex Hearing Aid app uses your smartphone to maximize sound amplification according to your hearing. The app has an inbuilt 2-minute test which tells you the degree of impairment. It then adjusts it to the level of the user. You can also change the amplification with four different amplification types namely, Pentralex, NAL, Berger, and Pogo.
In addition to that, it has an audiovisual adaptation course to make your hearing comfortable with the hearing aid. The app is free but if you want features like profile editing, 4-week adaptation course, super boost, etc, you can upgrade for $1.5/month.
3. Otter Voice Meeting Notes
Whether you’re in a class or an important meeting, note-taking can be an issue if you’ve hearing impairment. Otter App has a solution to this. It records conversations and meetings effectively, just tap, lay back, and let it process. You can also choose to transcribe in real-time.
Now AI is still not perfect and in case it does a mistake, you can always go back, edit texts, and remove errors. With time it also learns to identify speakers and in case you want to invite and collaborate with others, you can do that too. You can also connect your calendar for constant meeting reminders.
The app gives you 600 minutes free every month, but if want to extend that duration you can upgrade to premium at $9.99/monthly. This also gives you the export option to PDF.
You can also use Google’s Live Transcribe better suited for live transcribing and quick conversations
4. Signily Keyboard
Designed by a non-profit organization ASLized, Signily is a sign language keyboard for people. It user friendly and the UI is simply inviting. The keyboard has both left and right-handed signs for basic alphabets in the QWERTY layout. It consists of static signs and also animated GIFs that make it on par with other keyboards. The keyboard has many colors that you choose from. Others can also use it as I do put of sheer curiosity for sign language.
The app isn’t free, but for someone whose primary mode of communication is sign language, it can be of great use. You can buy the app for $1.
5. Sound Alert
Sound is important, whether it’s the doorbell or your ringing phone. What seems normal to us in daily life is a task for some. But Sound Alert has a solution to convert your phone into an alerting system. The app is simple to use and here is how you add sounds in it.
- Click on the add sound button on the home screen and choose a sound. There is a wide range of options such as theft alarm, microwave beep, etc.
- Now simply record the sound, so that it notifies you whenever the app detects it after it’s configured. Remember while recording place the phone near the surface of the sound source.
There are various notification settings so that you don’t miss any important sound like phone vibration, flashlight, etc.
This app is a lifesaver if you find it difficult to hear what the other person is saying during a call. It is a free mobile app funded by “The Federal Communications Commission”.
InnoCaption+ replaces your default dialer. It provides real-time captions for incoming and outgoing calls. It uses a method called CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) captioning with the use of a certified CSRT provider who listens to the conversation and instantly translates it, basically a live steno writer. This app requires users to be registered and self-certify of any hearing loss condition.
7. Google Voice
Google Voice provides users with an alternate number which can be used for calling, text messaging and also as a voice mail. It is features packed but this feature that puts it in our hearing aid list is its the capability to transcribe voicemails that can be accessed with the app or even have it sent to you on your e-mail address. A very handy option when you want to concentrate on more important things rather than live transcribing every call.
You can receive all important messages in voicemail and read them when later in the day in peace. The only drawback is it’s only available in the USA and some specific countries G-Suite markets.
Google Pixel devices also have a Recorder App which lets you transcribe in real-time. You can search for a certain word or phrase and even music in your recordings. The best part? It doesn’t need internet.
You can use the above apps to mix and match and create a hearing aid environment for yourself. They are all great apps and some like The ASL App can be used by normal users for learning sign-language too. Another app I want to mention is the Mimix 3D which uses a 3D avatar to convert your text in sign language, it’s a great app and you should surely try it out. If you have any suggestions, don’t forget to drop a comment below!