Google has launched two new apps for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Both apps, Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, are designed to make it easier for people with hearing problems to communicate better with the people around them.
Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier
Live Transcribe is a realtime transcription tool. It uses cloud-based speech recognition to transcribe conversations in realtime. This enables people who are deaf or hard of hearing to read, rather than hear, what’s being said with virtually no delay.
As detailed on The Keyword, Live Transcribe was developed based on the experiences of Dimitri Kanevsky, a research scientist at Google. Having “brought Dimitri closer to his loved ones,” Google is now launching Live Transcribe on a wider scale.
Live Transcribe comes pre-installed on Pixel 3 devices, and can be enabled in Accessibility Settings. However, Live Transcribe is also being rolled out on Google Play via a limited beta. Interested parties should sign up here to be notified when it’s available.
Sound Amplifier is essentially an app-based hearing aid. It filters, augments, and amplifies the sounds being picked up by your smartphone. And by wearing wired headphones, the person using the app can hear the filtered, augmented, and amplified sounds.
While Sound Amplifier is aimed at people who are deaf or hard of hearing, it could be useful for anyone struggling to hear over background noise. Sound Amplifier comes with a host of settings allowing you to micromanage the sound to your own personal needs.
Sound Amplifier comes pre-installed on Pixel 3 devices, but Android 9 Pie users can also download Sound Amplifier from Google Play. This app requires wired headphones to work, which is ironic given that the 3.5mm headphone jack is slowly disappearing.
Google Is Helping People Hear Better
Too often, people who are deaf or hard of hearing are ignored by technology firms. And that’s despite progress on helping blind or visually impaired people browse the web. So Google deserves credit for working to make people’s lives easier.