The Top Apps for the Hard-of-Hearing

Photo by Sean MacEntee (Flickr)

It’s hard when you or someone you care about is losing their hearing. We can find ourselves struggling to communicate. Fortunately, with today’s technology, apps for deaf and hard-of-hearing people can help us communicate with those who have hearing loss.

The two major marketplaces for apps for today’s mobile devices are the Google Play Store for Android and the Apple App Store. No matter what type of device you use, there are apps for hard-of-hearing and deaf individuals that can help if you or a loved one are hard of hearing or legally deaf. The capabilities of these apps range all the way from a simple vibrating alert to indicate that the device has picked up a sound to voice recognition software that can help with communication by typing out what has been said.

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Apps for Android

The Google Play Store contains a number of apps for hard-of-hearing and deaf individuals and those who are close to them. The first one that caught our eye is called The Deaf and Hearing Impaired. This simple app for hard-of-hearing and deaf individuals features a flashing light/vibration notification when your device picks up a loud sound. This is handy when somebody calls your name but you can’t hear them or when your door bell is ringing, but it can also be a life-saver by picking up the sounds of things like fire alarms. This app also includes a speech-to-text feature that transcribes what’s being said so you can read it, which is handy when you are trying to have a conversation in an environment where you may not be able to hear well.

Another useful app is called AllDeaf. AllDeaf is a social networking site for the deaf and hard of hearing as well as users of sign language, and with this app, you can post to the All Deaf forum, upload pictures, and access your private messages. Although it’s not an app for hard-of-hearing people specifically, it can be used to meet other people with common interests and interact with others who may be deaf or hard of hearing.

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Apps on Apple iOS

An interesting app for hard-of-hearing people available for iOS is BioAid. This app takes sound from your device’s microphone, processes it so that it’s easier to hear and understand, and plays it back through your headphones, which is perfect for those who are losing their hearing but don’t have hearing aids yet. It appears simple on the surface, but BioAid was created by scientists who have done nothing but study sound and have applied that knowledge to create cutting-edge software used to reproduce sound as faithfully as possible. Best of all, this app is free!

On the other hand, ASL Dictionary isn’t free, but it does seem to be worth the couple of bucks they are asking for. This dictionary app contains 5,200 signs used in American Sign Language. Made for people who are using or want to learn ASL, this app provides videos of idioms, amounts of money, common phrases, and the alphabet in ASL. Among apps for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, this one should be particularly useful.

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