From Whisper to Roar: Smartphone App Reviews for the Hard of Hearing

In today’s digital age, smartphones have become an essential part of our lives, providing us with convenience and connectivity. For individuals with hearing impairments, smartphones offer a unique opportunity to bridge the communication gap and enhance their daily lives. With the advancement of technology, there is now a wide range of smartphone apps specifically designed to assist the hard of hearing community. These apps aim to amplify sounds, provide real-time captioning, and facilitate communication in various settings. In this article, we will explore some of the top-rated smartphone apps for the hard of hearing, their features, and how they can make a significant difference in the lives of individuals with hearing impairments.

1. Sound Amplification Apps

One of the primary challenges faced by individuals with hearing impairments is the inability to hear sounds clearly. Sound amplification apps address this issue by using the smartphone’s microphone to amplify and enhance the volume of surrounding sounds. These apps provide customizable settings to adjust the amplification level based on individual preferences.

Some popular sound amplification apps include:

  • EarMachine: EarMachine is a powerful app that enhances the sound quality for individuals with hearing impairments. It uses advanced algorithms to amplify and clarify speech, making it easier to understand conversations even in noisy environments. The app’s customizable settings allow users to fine-tune the amplification levels according to their specific needs. With EarMachine, individuals with hearing impairments can experience improved listening experiences in various settings, such as crowded restaurants or busy streets.

  • Sound Amplifier: Developed by Google, Sound Amplifier is an accessibility feature available on Android devices. It allows users to customize sound settings to amplify specific frequencies and reduce background noise. This app can significantly improve the listening experience for individuals with hearing difficulties. With Sound Amplifier, users can enhance the clarity of speech and other sounds, making it easier to communicate and engage in various activities.

  • Oticon ON: Oticon ON is another popular sound amplification app that provides personalized sound amplification for individuals with hearing impairments. The app utilizes the smartphone’s microphone to capture sounds and processes them to deliver clearer and more natural sound experiences. Oticon ON offers various features, including the ability to adjust volume levels, customize sound settings for different environments, and even stream audio directly from compatible hearing aids. With its advanced technology and user-friendly interface, Oticon ON is a valuable tool for individuals with hearing difficulties.

2. Real-Time Captioning Apps

Real-time captioning apps are designed to convert spoken words into text in real-time, enabling individuals with hearing impairments to follow conversations more easily. These apps utilize speech recognition technology to transcribe spoken words into captions, which are displayed on the smartphone screen.

Here are a few notable real-time captioning apps:

  • Ava: Ava is a popular app that uses artificial intelligence and speech recognition to provide real-time captions during conversations. Users can connect multiple devices, allowing seamless communication in group settings. Ava also supports integration with other platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, making it a versatile tool for both in-person and online interactions. The app’s accuracy and speed in transcribing spoken words into captions ensure that individuals with hearing impairments can actively participate in conversations and understand the content more effectively.

  • Google Live Transcribe: Another powerful app from Google, Live Transcribe, provides instant captions for conversations in over 70 languages. It can be an invaluable tool for individuals with hearing impairments, allowing them to participate actively in discussions without missing any crucial information. The app’s user-friendly interface and customizable settings make it accessible and convenient for daily use. With Live Transcribe, individuals with hearing difficulties can have real-time access to spoken information, making communication more inclusive and engaging.

  • Otter: Otter is a comprehensive real-time captioning app that offers not only accurate transcriptions but also additional features such as keyword search and highlighting. The app uses advanced machine learning algorithms to generate accurate transcripts of conversations, meetings, and lectures. It allows users to review and edit the transcriptions, making it an excellent tool for both personal and professional use. With its robust features and user-friendly interface, Otter empowers individuals with hearing impairments to have better access to spoken content and collaborate effectively in various settings.

3. Communication and Video Relay Apps

Communication apps play a vital role in facilitating effective communication between individuals with hearing impairments and hearing individuals. These apps often incorporate features like video calls, instant messaging, and relay services.

Here are a few noteworthy communication apps:

  • RogerVoice: RogerVoice is a communication app that offers real-time captioning for phone calls, making it easier for individuals with hearing impairments to understand and participate in conversations. The app transcribes the caller’s voice into text, allowing users to read the captions while conversing. With its user-friendly interface and seamless integration with phone calls, RogerVoice enables individuals with hearing difficulties to have meaningful phone conversations without relying solely on audio cues.

  • Skype: Skype, a well-known video calling app, offers features like live captions and subtitles, making it accessible for individuals with hearing difficulties. Additionally, Skype provides a relay service called Skype Relay, which allows users to communicate with others via a relay assistant. This feature ensures that individuals with hearing impairments can effectively communicate with hearing individuals through text-based messages, bridging the communication gap and promoting inclusivity.

  • FaceTime: FaceTime, an app exclusive to Apple devices, provides video calling capabilities with built-in support for real-time captions. The app’s intuitive interface and seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem make it a popular choice for individuals with hearing impairments. By enabling real-time captions during video calls, FaceTime ensures that individuals with hearing difficulties can fully engage in conversations and maintain meaningful connections with their loved ones.

4. Alerting and Notification Apps

Alerting and notification apps are designed to ensure individuals with hearing impairments do not miss important sounds or alerts. These apps use visual cues, vibrations, or flashing lights to notify users about various events or alarms.

Here are a few examples:

  • Earfy: Earfy is an app that converts sounds into visual alerts, allowing individuals with hearing difficulties to be aware of their surroundings. It can detect various sounds, including doorbells, fire alarms, and even crying babies, and display corresponding visual alerts on the smartphone screen. With its customizable settings and reliable detection capabilities, Earfy provides individuals with hearing impairments with a sense of security and independence.

  • Vibratissimo: Vibratissimo is an innovative app that uses the smartphone’s vibration function to notify users about incoming calls, messages, or alarms. It can be customized to provide different vibration patterns for different events, making it a versatile tool for individuals with hearing impairments. By relying on vibration alerts, Vibratissimo ensures that individuals with hearing difficulties are promptly notified of important events, enhancing their overall awareness and responsiveness.

  • Be My Ears: Be My Ears is an app that connects individuals with hearing impairments to volunteer listeners who can provide real-time assistance. The app allows users to send voice messages to the volunteer listeners, who can then respond with transcribed text messages. This communication method ensures that individuals with hearing difficulties can receive timely information and support, overcoming communication barriers in various situations.

These are just a few examples of the numerous smartphone apps available to assist individuals with hearing impairments. The advancements in technology have undoubtedly transformed the lives of the hard of hearing community, empowering them to communicate effectively and participate fully in various aspects of life. Whether it’s amplifying sounds, providing real-time captions, facilitating communication, or ensuring important alerts are not missed, these apps have revolutionized the way individuals with hearing impairments navigate the world around them.


From sound amplification to real-time captioning, communication to alerting, smartphone apps have become powerful tools for individuals with hearing impairments. They offer an array of features and functionalities that cater specifically to the needs of the hard of hearing community. By leveraging these apps, individuals with hearing impairments can overcome communication barriers, enhance their listening experience, and live their lives to the fullest. The increasing availability and advancements in smartphone apps demonstrate the commitment of technology developers to inclusivity and accessibility for all. So, embrace the power of these apps, and let your voice be heard from a whisper to a roar!