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Best free cell phone apps for hearing-impaired

Last update on Jun, 29, 2021

There’s an app for everything these days, including better hearing

Turn your cellphone into a tool for noise protection, better music listening and more with these nine free, easy-to-use smartphone apps for hearing-impaired users.

Free, iOS and Android

Great for: finding quiet places to socialize

How it works: SoundPrint crowdsources noise level data to help people find quiet places to eat, drink and socialize. You can use the app’s “SoundCheck” feature to record the ambience of a bar, restaurant or other public space through your smartphone’s built-in microphone. Once the location’s decibel level is determined, the data is submitted and stored in the app’s database. When you search for a spot through the app, you can see if it’s “quiet,” “moderate,” “loud” or “very loud.”

How it helps: Many people with hearing loss struggle with losing important portions of conversation amidst a lot of background noise. This smartphone app allows hearing-impaired individuals to find public locations where it will be easiest for them to communicate with others.

Free, iOS and Android

Great for: determining the quietest time to visit a venue

How it works: Google Maps’ “Popular Times” feature tracks a location’s traffic to show how busy it tends to be at different times of the day/week. Real-time monitoring even lets you see how crowded a place is before you get there. 

How it helps: Hearing-impaired people can use this cellphone app to pinpoint the least busy (and likely quietest) time to book their restaurant reservation or catch up with friends at the coffee shop.

Free, iOS only

Great for: monitoring noise exposure

How it works: Experts from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed this simple sound-measuring tool to combat hearing loss in the workplace, but it’s useful for assessing noise in any setting. The app uses your smartphone’s built-in microphone to give you highly accurate, real-time noise exposure data, which you can then save and share with others.

How it helps: Everyone can benefit from this app, not just the hearing impaired. Dangerous decibel levels can lead to hearing loss. This app allows users to monitor their surroundings for dangerous noise levels using their cellphones. The app also offers guidelines for properly conducting a noise measurement, as well as tips to protect hearing.

Free, iOS and Android

Great for: monitoring noise exposure

How it works: Like the NIOSH Sound Level Meter, Decibel X lets you easily and accurately measure sounds ranging from 30 dBA (the equivalent of a whisper) to 130 dBA (a power drill). Plus: The app is compatible with Apple Watch, so you can record sounds right from your wrist!

How it helps: Much like the NIOSH Sound Level Meter, everyone can benefit from this smartphone app.

Free, iOS and Android

Great for: exploring your hearing ability

How it works: Mimi Hearing Test, developed by sound tech company Mimi Hearing Technologies, uses a 6-minute hearing assessment to take “a fingerprint of your ear.” The results indicate each ear’s hearing capacity and show you how your hearing ability compares to others your age.

While the app can give you a better idea of your hearing ability, you should always consult a doctor or hearing care professional if you think you’re having trouble hearing. It’s important to have an expert conduct a comprehensive hearing evaluation before looking into hearing loss treatment options. If you think you or a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss, book a free Miracle-Ear hearing test today.

How it helps: While the Mimi Hearing Test is largely a preventative tool, those with hearing impairments can still benefit. Changes in your Mimi Hearing Test results may indicate that it's time to see your hearing specialist for an adjustment to your hearing aids.

Keep in mind
Both smartphone technology and hearing aid technology are evolving every day

Free, iOS and Android

Great for: staying alert to important sounds

How it works: The Sound Alert app uses your smartphone to detect and alert you to the sounds you don’t want to miss. Use the app to prerecord home alarms, oven and microwave timers, doorbells and other home and environmental noises, then set the app to “detection mode” to have your phone listen for them. You can choose multiple alert methods, such as phone vibrations, flashing lights and smartwatch notifications.

How it helps: A lot of critical information warning systems are not built with hearing-impaired individuals in mind. This assistive listening device helps convert alarm systems' sounds into signals that are more accessible to those with hearing loss. 

Free, iOS and Android

Great for: hearing any live muted TV

How it works: Tunity allows you to stream audio from any live TV program. To connect, you simply scan the TV with app’s camera. The app then uses machine learning to quickly identify the channel you’re watching and stream the synchronized audio directly to your headphones or speaker. Tune in to TV at the gym or airport without having to read the screen—or use the app at home to watch TV without disrupting family.

How it helps: While there are a number of Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids on the market that allow you to sync your hearing up to devices like your television or stereo, this app bypasses the need to connect to a device directly. Rather, you can deliver streaming sound to headphones that can be used with a hearing aid.

Free, iOS and Android

Great for: phone call captioning

How it works: Rogervoice subtitles phone and video conversations in real time—in more than 100 languages. During a call, you can hold your phone in front of you to read the conversation’s transcribed text and can reply by talking or typing. The app also saves call transcriptions, a feature that’s particularly useful for business calls and notetaking.

Unlike pricey speech to text devices for hearing-impaired, Rogervoice is free between users (using the app on calls to non-Rogervoice users requires a subscription).

How it helps: Often a hearing-impaired individual may miss certain words or phrases in a conversation, even with the help of hearing aids. This app allows users to have an additional, text-based input from their smartphone to provide additional context as needed.

Free, iOS and Android

Great for: tinnitus relief

How it works: Studies show mindfulness-based meditation can reduce the severity of tinnitus and its side effects, including anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation. Insight Timer is an award-winning meditation app that features a large library of content from renowned mindfulness experts, neuroscientists and psychologists. All 19,000 of its meditations—from guided practices to soothing music and sleep soundtracks—are available for free. The app also offers a free seven-day introductory meditation course for beginners.

How it helps: While hearing loss is not a reliable indicator of tinnitus, the two conditions do overlap very often. If you are a hearing-impaired person who also experiences tinnitus symptoms, this cellphone app can possibly help to alleviate those symptoms. 

Great for: controlling your hearing aids from your smartphone

How it works: Many high-tech hearing aids have exclusive smartphone apps that connect to hearing aids via Bluetooth technology. Apps allow hearing aid wearers to switch listening programs, personalize settings and stream audio. The best hearing aid apps also have advanced listening features such as motion detection (to help you hear naturally when you’re on the move) and sound therapy (for tinnitus relief).

These are just a few app selections that our hearing-impaired readers and clients have found particularly useful. Keep in mind that both smartphone technology and hearing aid technology are evolving every day. Stay tuned to the Miracle-Ear Blog for the latest news on hearing technology advancements. 

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