Speech-to-Text Apps

Speech-to-text apps can be incredibly useful, not just for people who are hard of hearing, but for anyone else too. Whether you want to watch a  show or video without subtitles, transcribe the presentation of someone at a live event, or make conversation with friends easier to understand, these paid and free apps for hard of hearing can help you out.

Google Live Transcribe
This free app for Android by Google provides real-time transcriptions of any audio picked up by your phone’s microphone. While the accuracy isn’t 100%, it’s certainly not bad for a free app. And non-English speakers aren’t left out either as the app works in over 70 languages.

Rogervoice is an app specifically designed to caption phone calls for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Simply use the app instead of your normal smartphone call app. It’s also available in over 80 languages, and the development team is continually working to improve the quality of the automatic transcription. Rogervoice is free for calling other people with the app, and you can upgrade to a paid account to call landlines and mobile phones.

Ava is another live captioning app designed for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Powered by AI, it works for in-person or online conversations, meetings, videos, and any audio that you can pick up on your smartphone microphone. Ava is free for short conversations and the paid plans include premium captions, which are created by a human.

Otter.ai is an AI-powered transcription service that will transcribe the URL of any video or audio file. It’s particularly useful for work, as it will also transcribe Zoom and Google meetings in real-time, automatically identifying the different speakers. Otter is free to transcribe the first 30 minutes of any meeting and 300 minutes a month, or you can upgrade to a paid plan if you use it more.

Rev Voice Recorder
Rev is a free voice recorder app that gives you the option to order a transcription of the audio you record. It’s handy for recording interviews, presentations, meetings, voice calls, and anything else where you don’t need the transcription immediately. Rev transcriptions are created by humans so it’s useful for when accuracy is important. You can have the transcription back within 12 hours, priced at $1.50 per minute.

Apps to Improve Sound Perception

Nothing beats a professionally-fitted hearing aid if you’re struggling with hearing loss. But these so-called “hearing aid apps” can help to bridge the gap for people who are starting to experience some decline in their hearing and have not yet been diagnosed and don’t have a hearing aid. They can also be handy for anyone experiencing temporary hearing loss or if you’re just in a noisy environment.

Ear Scout: Super Hearing
The Ear Scout app for Android is designed to be used with normal earbuds. It uses AI to boost the voice of the speaker and reduce background noise. It’s a free Android app that can be very helpful when you’re in a noisy environment or want to customize the sounds you hear.

HearingOS is an iPhone hearing aid app that uses smart algorithms to improve external sounds in a similar fashion to Ear Scout. It works with any earphones and you can customize the sound to suit your hearing. This app requires a monthly subscription.

Other Useful Apps

Sound Alert
Sound Alert detects certain sounds in your environment such as a doorbell or smoke alarm and sends a notification to your phone or smartwatch through vibration or a flashing light. The app is available for Android or iPhone for a one-off payment.

Connect Hearing Online Tests
They won’t replace your regular professional hearing tests, but the Speech Perception and Beep tests from Connect Hearing are useful screening tools you can use to monitor changes in your hearing or if you’ve not yet been diagnosed with hearing loss but suspect your hearing is declining. The tests are free, take just a few minutes, and you can retake the tests as many times as you wish to track your score over time. Have a look at them here.

Are you tired of meeting a friend for coffee only to find you can’t have a conversation because the cafe is so loud? SoundPrint is designed to help you find a quiet place near you. Anyone can measure sound levels in a cafe, restaurant, or other place and submit it to the SoundPrint public database. You can also use it to submit noise complaints to venues.

Tunity is a very handy app that allows you to stream audio from a live TV directly to your earphones or Bluetooth hearing aid. Designed for muted TVs in bars, gyms, and waiting rooms, it also works well at home if the rest of your family prefers to watch the TV at a lower volume. If your current hearing aid doesn't have a Bluetooth feature, it may be worth considering upgrading. Many of the hearing aids available from Connect Hearing have Bluetooth features. If you're unsure which model is right for you, please feel free to get in touch for further advice.

Remember, these apps aren’t designed to replace a hearing aid and unfortunately there’s no app to improve hearing physically. If you’re struggling to understand conversations or hear clearly, make an appointment for a hearing test so a professional can assess your hearing and offer further advice.