When a company announces a new mobile device, they typically talk about the faster processor, sleek design, and maybe even play a highly produced video showing the capability of the upgraded camera system. Accessibility features that make it easier to communicate with a mobile device may not be as flashy as “Portrait Mode” or augmented reality, but for those with hearing loss, it’s the most important feature.
Thankfully, the major tech companies who design mobile phones take accessibility seriously and there’s a slew of features that make talking on the phone easier if you suffer from hearing loss.
Connect Your Hearing Aids to Your Phone
If you have a Hearing Aid Compatible iPhone, which includes many models, you can take advantage of some astonishing technology. Apple has worked with some of the top hearing aid manufacturers to create devices that pair seamlessly to your phone just as a traditional Bluetooth device would. You can adjust the volume in each ear either together or separately, and if your audiologist has recommended certain settings depending on your environment, you can apply those as well. With Android 10, Google can also connect your hearing aid to your mobile phone by pairing them together via Bluetooth. If you have a Pixel phone, compare hearing aid compatibility of the different models.
Apple devices include mono audio, which is a simple feature that can make a big difference. Since hearing loss can occur in one ear and not always both, you can miss part of what you’re listening to if the audio is in stereo, which plays audio in a left- and right-channel. With a Hearing Aid Compatible iPhone, you can play audio in both ears and adjust the volume accordingly. When it comes to Android devices, Google’s Sound Amplifier app will allow callers with hearing loss to enhance audio and filter out background noise to create a customized listening experience.
One assistive technology that comes built into iPhones is noise notifications. You can avoid damaging your ears further by monitoring the noise level in the environment that you’re in. Apple makes it easy to set a noise threshold and when you’re in a space that meets or exceeds that threshold for three minutes, you’ll receive a notification.
RTT and TTY
Real-time text (RTT) and Text Telephone (TTY) are available on Apple and Android devices. Users need to turn on the features via the settings menu on their phone and with RTT/TTY relay, you’ll be able to use text to have a phone conversation but it does not allow the caller to hear what the other party is saying. You can save a transcript of the conversation to reference later.
Other features built into the iPhone and Android devices include alerts that vibrate, and you can even make the flash on your camera go off to alert you when someone calls. Apple’s FaceTime is another great feature for those with hearing loss because it allows you to see who you’re talking to and use sign language to communicate. For Android devices, apps like Skype, Zoom, and Hangouts allow you to video chat.
CaptionCall On the Go
While the Android Accessibility app offers live transcriptions and captions for videos and podcasts, it’s powered by voice-recognition technology and can help with in-person conversations. CaptionCall’s no-cost service is specifically designed for people with hearing loss and offers real-time captions for your phone conversations using voice-recognition technology and live captioning agents.
CaptionCall offers a traditional landline phone that allows you to read captions of your conversation on a large, easy-to-read screen in real-time from the comfort of your home and you can adjust the volume and frequency to fit your needs. You can also save your conversations, so you’ll never forget an appointment or a meaningful conversation with family and friends.
For when you’re on the go, there’s the convenience of CaptionCall Mobile. The app is one of the best for people with hearing loss and it allows you to answer phone calls on your iPhone (coming soon to Android) when you’re not at home. The app and captioning services are provided at no cost to people with certified hearing loss and there are no in-app purchases.
If you or someone you know suffers from hearing loss that necessitates the use of captioned telephone service, please call 1-877-557-2227 or visit us at www.CaptionCall.com.