The 11 Best Free Smartphone Apps for Hearing-Impaired Users

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

Turn your smartphone into a tool for noise protection, better music listening and more with these 11 free, easy-to-use smartphone apps for hearing-impaired users.

SoundPrint

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.”

Google Maps

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. Use the feature to pinpoint the least-busy (and likely quietest) time to book your restaurant reservation or catch up with friends at the coffee shop.

Discover more tips for dining out with hearing loss.

NIOSH Sound Level Meter

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 promote hearing safety 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.

The app also offers guidelines for properly conducting a noise measurement, as well as tips to protect hearing.

Decibel X

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!

Mimi Hearing Test

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.

Receive a free hearing evaluation at any one of Miracle-Ear’s 1,400+ locations.

Mimi Music

Free, iOS and Android

Great for: healthier music listening  

How it works: Mimi Music, also from Mimi Hearing Technologies, adjusts music playback so that you can enjoy listening at a lower volume. First, the app assesses your hearing with a quick test (you can also import results from the Mimi Hearing Test app). You can then synchronize the app with iTunes, Spotify or your preferred music platform. When you play a song, the app’s technology personalizes the playback for your hearing, adding more clarity and detail to the vocals and instrumentals. The result? Richer sound at a safer volume level.

The app is useful for anyone who frequently listens to music with headphones (which can easily put our hearing at risk), but it’s particularly beneficial to those with hearing loss. Hearing loss affects our ability to hear music even before speech. Mimi Music enables all listeners enjoy music in greater detail—without having to blast the volume.

Sound Alert

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.

Tunity

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.

Rogervoice

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).

Insight Timer

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.

Hearing aid apps

Free, iOS and Android (depending on hearing aid provider)

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).

Learn about Miracle-Ear’s exclusive hearing aid smartphone apps, including the MEcontrol, GENIUSLINK and GENIUScontrol apps.