Two new Android apps: Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier have been introduced by Google which will make the life of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals much easier. Sound Amplifier is available for anyone to download but Live Transcription is still in its exclusive beta phase. Till now Google’s voice recognition software was exclusively used for the Google Assistant but now hearing impaired will be benefited by it. These apps aren’t just average accessibility apps. They don’t make just phones and computers easier to operate. They make the world more accessible instead of making just phones more accessible. Users with hearing impairment interact with their environment with the help of Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier apps.
The Live Transcribe app transcribes conversations in real time. It works on Android 5.0 Lollipop and is a pretty straightforward app. Google created Live Transcribe in partnership with Gallaudet. Words will appear against an easy-to-read background as they’re spoken while using the Live Transcribe app. This app has the potential to help people communicate all over the world as it supports the live transcription of 70 different languages. It is still in its early stages but eventually, it will display conversations in an organized manner. Currently, words of different speakers are sort of mashed together into a stream of conscious style paragraphs. The customers who don’t want to communicate can use its type-back keyboard that works with exterior microphones to improve transcription accuracy. You can get this app from Play store but it is still in the development phase. If you want, you can add yourself to the beta-testing waitlist but if you want to see Live Transcription in action then watch Google’s press video.
Noise will probably be one of the biggest challenges to Google’s app. A good signal is a must for anything that uses speech-to-text software. A live transcription, for instance, will be much easier to do in a quiet place than at a noisy restaurant. The app has to eliminate all the noise and focus a single individual in order to transcribe what they’re saying. Even if the hard-of-hearing people have good hearing aids, yet it is the most difficult situation for them. Another issue with the app can be of accuracy. It is possible that the transcriber completely mangles your email if you try to do it verbally. Speech recognition has indeed improved than what it used to be but things can go wrong if you depend on the accuracy of a live captioner. A cautionary strategy is required if you are using speech recognition for important functions. However, Google has already taken note of the noise drawback and has included a visible indicator to Live Transcribe which shows the signal-to-noise ratio of a cell phone’s environment. It will help an operator to understand if the app goes to carry out successfully or not.
Anyone with hearing impairments will find Live Transcription app useful but Sound Amplifier app is specifically for the near-deaf and hard of hearing. This app allows you to hear quiet sounds and removes unnecessary sounds when used with some earbuds or a hearing aid. Basically, this app is an audio enhancer. Recently, Google provided native Android support for all ASHA hearing aids and the Sound Amplifier is another addition to the accessibility features that Google offers. You don’t have to add yourself to any waitlists because the Sound Amplifier is already available on the Play store.
A cell phone’s audio will be clearer and simpler to hear with Sound Amplifier app. You can filter, increase and amplify the sounds around you by using wired headphones. This app increases quiet sounds but does not boost loud sounds. You can custom-made sound enhancement settings. You can decrease distracting background noise by using noise discount with easy sliders and toggles. This app uses an Android phone as a sound booster which can then be used to amplify speech or other sounds in your direct vicinity.
Integration between smartphones and sure gadgets is increasing. It is done when Bluetooth connection allows cell phone calls, music and podcasts to be streamed directly to the listening to aids. However, streaming features are usually available on high-end and high-priced products and most hearing aids are also expensive. This issue is solved as hearing assistance capabilities are added to Android phones freely using Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier. Kudos to Google as disabled people and communities can now get valuable access through these apps.