6 Apps to Improve Accessibility for Individuals with Hearing Loss

Written By: Rin-rin Yu

Looking for a fun place to go but not sure if it’s going to be fun or accessible? Good thing the answers are right at your fingertips. Here are a few handy apps that can help you decide what will work for you.

Soundprint. This app lists the decibel level of restaurants, bars and cafes, along with reviews. As a user, you can also measure the venue’s loudness and submit it to the app. Each listing needs to have at least three readings before it’s listed.

Open Table. This dining reservations app offers a comments and special requests section, where you can mention your disability and ask for a quiet table. “It usually works, and I get the best seat in the house!” says Catharine McNally, AG Bell board chair.

Loopfinder. Planning to go to a church, movie, show or some other venue? Use this app to check ahead to see if it comes with induction loops. You can request the loops as well via the app so it’s ready when you arrive.

IHEARu. Find a quiet spot, whether it’s a bar, café, restaurant, park, church or so forth, based on user-generated loudness ratings. The app also indicates which places have assisted listening options. It locates places across dozens of countries.

GalaPro. If you’re in New York and want to take in a Broadway show, this app provides closed captioning directly to your phone—any time. No more waiting for specific dates that provide captioning. Currently available with 17 shows (through a partnership with the Shubert Organization), you simply connect to the GalaPro network in the theater, and the captioning will keep up with the actors.

Live Transcribe. Developed by Google, this app provides you with speech-to-text accessibility. Good news is it’s free, and it boasts quality recognition capabilities. External wireless mics can be used and paired with Bluetooth headsets, allowing you to sit far from the speaker while reading text on your phone.

As technology improves so do the apps available to assist people who are deaf and hard of hearing. View more available apps online here.

(Originally published in Volta Voices, 2019 January-March edition)

Reference in this blog post to any specific product, process, or service is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or certification of any kind by Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.


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