Communication aids: What apps or devices can help facilitate communication with clients who have hearing impairments? 

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What apps or devices can help facilitate communication with clients who have hearing impairments? 

Question

Are there any apps or devices I can use with my hearing-impaired clients that would allow us to use pictures or words to communicate? I have a client who doesn't have a hearing aid, but we still need to try and communicate with each other. 

Our answer

It’s so important to be able to communicate with your hearing impaired clients. Depending on your clients’ preferences, there are a few apps that you may want to explore: 

Apps that use words 

  • Live Transcribe by Research at Google is a free live transcription app for Android devices designed for users who are deaf or hard of hearing. It has a very simple layout that transcribes speech in real time into text for the user to read. It works best for a two-way conversation. 
  • Subtitles Viewer LIVE by Craig Grummitt is a free app for Apple devices that provides subtitles to conversations using speech recognition. 
  • Earfy by Earfy NV is a free app for both Android and Apple devices, it offers real time captions for one-on-one conversations. 
  • Buzzcards by Sorenson Communications is a free communication app designed for helping facilitate communication for hearing-impaired people. Users can type messages and they appear like flashcards, and cards can be saved for quick use. It is available for both Android and Apple devices 

Apps that use pictures 

  • Image2Talk by Het is Simpel is a picture-based communication app for Apple devices. It costs $24.99 (U.S.). 
  • UpCard is a free communication app for both Android and Apple devices which uses icons to help build sentences. 
  • Voice4u by Spectrum Visions Global is a symbol-based communication app for both Android and Apple devices. It costs $59.99 (U.S.). 

Another option is Sound Amplifier by Google LLC which is a free app that works with wired headphones to minimize loud background noise and boost the quieter sounds of conversation. 

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