Skip to main content

Google releases two new Android apps for those with hearing problems

Google is releasing two new Android apps for those with limited or no hearing — Live Transcribe, and Sound Amplifier — part of an ongoing (and fantastic) effort to help those with accessibility issues use their smartphones to the fullest.

Google has been steadily releasing accessibility-increased apps for a variety of people over the last few years — from the release of Lookout and Voice Access, to the ability to use Morse Code in the Gboard keyboard app. Now, these two new apps aim to help the hard of hearing in everyday situations.

The first, Live Transcribe, uses the power of Google’s speech recognition to provide real-time transcriptions of conversation to the user. It’s an exceptionally simple app, made of text on a plain background, and it starts transcribing as soon as it’s booted up. It’s capable of recognizing over 70 languages and dialects, too, making it usable around the world, right off the bat.

Android Accessibility: Live Transcribe

One of the major advantages of Live Transcribe is that it provides a hearing-impaired person with a way of easily communicating with hearing people if there isn’t a sign language interpreter around — but it doesn’t stop there. Haptic feedback alerts the user if someone behind them is talking, and a volume indicator in the corner lets a hearing-impaired person know if they’re in a particularly loud environment, and will need to speak louder to be heard. If the speech recognition fails, there’s also a manual keyboard option.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The second app, Sound Amplifier, can be used as a hearing aid, damping down some sounds while emphasizing others. For those with reduced hearing who may struggle to hear friends and family while in a noisy environment — such as near a road — using this app in combination with a set of headphones will allow them to hear only the sounds they need to hear.

The unreleased version of Live Transcribe is currently available from the Play Store, while the full version is available worldwide on a limited beta. You can sign up to be alerted when it’s fully available — Google has also mentioned it will be pre-installed on all Pixel devices from this point on. Sound Amplifier will also be included on Pixel devices, and you can find it on the Play Store, too — though it’s only available for devices running Android 9.0 Pie at the moment.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Jansen
Mark Jansen is an avid follower of everything that beeps, bloops, or makes pretty lights. He has a degree in Ancient &…
Google is making Android devices work better together with expanded Fast Pairing
google fast pairing android features multi device experiences

Google is moving boldly into 2022 with new features designed to bring all the devices in your life into harmony around your Android smartphone of choice. The company made number of announcements at CES 2022 to help make your devices and accounts work more seamlessly.
Fast Pair everything
Android’s Fast Pair technology already helps you get up and running with Bluetooth accessories like headphones and speakers, but now Google is expanding it beyond audio connectivity to add a whole collection of new devices.

This means that in the coming months you’ll be able to use Fast Pair to quickly link up your headphones with your Chromebook, Google TV, or other Android TV OS device, add Matter-enabled Smart Home devices to your network, and even automatically switch your Bluetooth headphone audio based on the device you’re listening to.

Read more
Google unwraps several new and festive holiday features for Android
google announces festive new holiday features for android family bell feature

Google is closing out 2021 with a variety of new features for Android fans that are aimed at helping people get more out of this holiday season. The search giant rounded up the new collection of Android features in a blog post, and they include some new Android Auto enhancements, updated widgets for its media apps, and more.

First off, Google is introducing a new Family Bell feature to encourage togetherness and help everyone stay on track. It’s basically a Google Assistant feature that can be set up from an Android phone, speaker, or smart display that alerts you and everyone else in your family when it’s time to do something important.

Read more
Android 12 is out. Or is it? Here’s why we think Google delayed the release
Android 12 teaser images

Google released the full version of Android 12 on October 4. Or did it? The truth is that Google kinda-sorta released the full version by pushing the source to the Android Open Source Project and making builds available for sideloading. What Google did not do is release the full version of Android 12 to Pixel phones via an over-the-air (OTA) update.

According to Google, the OTA update will roll out to the Pixel phones in the next few weeks and to Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Tecno, Vivo, and Xiaomi devices later this year." That's a bit disappointing, to say the least.

Read more