Brilliant Smartphone Apps Available
If you’re wearing hearing aids, there’s a high probability, these days, that a smartphone app is available to facilitate the use of your devices.
Most of the major companies provide apps that help control volume, sound, make presets of preferred listening environments and even offer virtual appointments with your Hearing Health Clinician.
These apps can be invaluable and there are many others available that can assist people with reduced hearing, whether they have hearing aids or not.
Voice to text apps
There are many of these applications available from relay services to live transcription apps.
Essentially, they allow voice-to-text and text-to-voice functions in varying forms. Google’s Live Transcribe app is one of the more recent ones and has developed real-time transcription of speech into text, which is useful for severely hearing impaired people who find it difficult to follow speech in normal conversation.
The speaker’s voice is transcribed and captioned on to the phone screen, in real-time. It supports more than 70 languages and can be launched from within any app on your phone, using the accessibility icon. A network connection is required for the spoken word to be transcribed to the phone screen.
The Rogervoice app can be used for live transcription during phone calls, allowing normal flow for phone conversations. The person with the hearing loss will receive typed text of what the other person is saying during the call and can respond with their voice or by typing.
The National Relay Service app is an excellent option for Australian people with hearing and communication challenges as it provides different options for phone calls including internet relay to type and read conversation. For users of Auslan, video relay is also available. This is a free service available on both Apple and Android devices.
OpenAccess Alerts is an app that allows people with hearing loss to have access to community announcements or emergency messages that might otherwise be heard via radio. Pop-up alerts can be set for your location.
Amplification and Sound Measurement apps
These phone applications allow you to use your phone as an amplification device.
This is helpful if you don’t have a hearing aid or need a boost to the sound levels in a particular environment.
Here are a list of other useful apps.
1. EarMachine: http://www.earmachine.com/
2 EarSpy: http://www.earspyapp.com/
3. Fennex: https://www.fennex.io/
There are also various apps that can measure the level of sound around you, to ensure the noise is not dangerous to your hearing. Some are free and some are more accurate than others. The apps use your phone’s on-board microphone for measuring the decibel level of the noise, so that may impact the accuracy. Research has shown the most accurate sound level measuring apps are:
2. Decibel X;
Tinnitus Relief Apps
The major hearing aid companies include the availability of a tinnitus program for their hearing aids, which are accompanied by a smartphone app. There are other apps that can be used without hearing aids. The apps can offer a variety of features including different types of sound to listen to, relaxation and or meditation exercises, psychological strategies and information on tinnitus. There are many of these types of apps available so if tinnitus is bothersome for you, explore what is available on your phone.
Some of the tinnitus apps available for both Apple and Android phones include:
Relax Melodies – different sounds and melodies to help you sleep.
Tinnitus Balance App – use this app to customise the sounds you listen to, to help relieve your tinnitus.
Tinnitus Therapy – another app to customise sounds for ‘sound therapy’. The sounds aim to mask your tinnitus to make it less noticeable. This can help you habituate to your tinnitus sounds.
Track Your Tinnitus – Track your tinnitus to investigate patterns that exacerbate or ease the level of your tinnitus throughout the day.
There are many, many more available so take the time to investigate the right app to help with your tinnitus.
Hearing Test Apps for Smartphones
Again, there are plenty of these available and although you may know what your hearing levels are, you might have friends or family who are interested in checking their hearing status.
An excellent one to start with is the app developed for the World Health Organisation – hearWHO. This app tests your hearing levels in background noise to determine your signal to noise ratio.
The results will give an indication of your overall hearing. If you don’t ‘pass’ the test, it’s recommended you seek a full diagnostic hearing assessment. This app was developed by the HearXgroup and has been shown to be at least 85% accurate.
The above smartphone applications are only a very small indication of what’s available for you and your particular hearing needs. If you have a smartphone, go to your Applications store (Google Play for Android or App Store for Apple devices) and investigate what’s out there, that you may find useful for your hearing support.