As technology develops, the number of communication options available to persons with total or partial hearing loss grows. In particular, advancements in automatic speech recognition (ASR) have made a dramatic difference to millions of people’s lives.
Everyone has a right to an education and access to information, and technology is now making this right a reality for many.
Globally, 1,5 billion people live with some degrees of hearing loss of this number, around 430 million people require rehabilitation services for their hearing loss. South Africa has a well-established deaf community of over four million people.
In this article, we take a look at 6 of the best apps for the hard of hearing and deaf community.
1. Google Live Transcribe
Google’s Live Transcribe uses ASR technology to offer real-time transcription of speech into text. The spoken text is picked up by a phone microphone and delivered to an android phone screen using wifi or another network connection.
This is useful if you’re attending conferences or lectures, for example. The words spoken will appear on the phone of the person who has the app. The tech works for 70 different languages.
TextHear from Geemarc is a voice recognition app with versions for both Android and Apple devices. The Android version has the advantage of being completely free to use with unlimited use of the service, while the Apple version requires payment for blocks of minutes.
3. Ava: Best Live Captions
Lip reading can be harder in a group of people and this is one of the main reasons AVA was created. If a person who is deaf or who has hearing loss is with a group of friends, they can get those friends to connect to the app. The person(s) who has hearing loss will see live transcriptions of the group conversation.
The speech is picked up using the phone’s microphone and on screen the name of the person talking is displayed in front of what that person says.
Rogervoice is an app that produces live transcription during phone calls in more than 100 different languages. People who are deaf and those who have hearing loss, or someone who has difficulty speaking can use the phone to have a conversation with someone, and receive a typed text (on their phone) of what the other person is saying.
5. Braci Sound Alert
Braci Sound Alert app lets you record the sounds in your environment and then gives you visual and vibrational alerts on your smartphone when it recognises them. For example, it can alert you when an alarm goes off or when a doorbell rings.
Chatable is an app for iOS(Apple) and Android devices which reduces background noise and enhances speech in difficult listening situations. The app works much like a remote microphone. The phone is placed close to the persons speaking and you listen using a pair of wired or Bluetooth headphones.
There is a free and a paid for version of the app, the difference being how much you can modify the volume and level of background noise.