Four ways to use your smartphone to cope with hearing loss

Apple and Android devices have developed ways to help those with hearing loss

Hearing loss is exceedingly common, with 13% of US adults suffering from some form of it. Luckily, smartphones have found a way to adapt and make the lives of people with this common affliction a little easier.

Utilize your phone’s live captions

In 2019, Google introduced Live Caption, a new smartphone feature that captions videos and spoken audio in real time. This feature even works without a Wi-Fi connection. To access this feature on any Android phone, just go to Settings > Accessibility > Live Caption.

This feature is also available through a Google Chrome browser. To access, just click on More>Settings>Accessibility>Live Caption.

If you have a Pixel 2 or newer Pixel phone, you can use their Live Caption for Calls feature to add captions to phone calls. To access, just go to Settings > Accessibility > Live Caption > Caption calls.

Unfortunately, this feature is not yet available on Apple devices. However, the company announced a Live Captions feature coming to all of their devices later this year.

Utilize sound recognition features

Oftentimes, the most inconvenient parts of hearing loss are the small noises you miss. Missing a door knock or a smoke alarm can have consequences Luckily, your smartphone can help with that.

Apple has a Sound Recognition feature that allows the iPhone to listen for various noises, such as babies crying, cats or dogs, doorbells, glass breaking and more. To find this feature, go to Settings > Accessibility.

Google smartphones also have this feature, which can be accessed with their Live Transcribe and Notification App. This app comes with all Pixel phones, and can be downloaded on all other Androids. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Sound Notifications>Open Sound Notifications.

Use headphones to filter sound

If you sometimes have trouble hearing anything around you when you have headphones in, wireless headphones can help with that.

Android has a Sound Amplifier App, which will allow you to reduce noise, turn up quiet sounds and boost high or low frequencies in your wireless headphones.

With any Apple AirPods or Beats headphones, you can adjust the headphones in the Control Center of your phone.

If you have AirPods Pro or Max, you can access Transparency Mode in your phone’s control center, which allows you to tweak the transparency of your headphones, making it easier to hear your surroundings while still listening in on your phone.

Pair your hearing aid to your device

Apple has a Made for iPhone hearing aid program. Hearing aids can be connected to an iPhone via bluetooth, and most of the features outlined above for headphones can be used for hearing aids as well. You can even stream music or podcasts directly to your hearing aids.

For Android phones, you can also pair them with your device via bluetooth, however, features vary by manufacturer. Make sure to check compatibility before you buy.