At Big Thicket Hearing Aids & Audiology, a big part of our mission is educating the community about developments that impact individuals with hearing loss.

We want to make the Lumberton community aware of the innovations giant technology companies have made to improve the lives of people who are hard of hearing in recent years.

In fact, Google just introduced Sound Notifications for Android, a feature designed to benefit people who have hearing loss.

Here’s what you need to know about technology companies’ work on behalf of the hard of hearing community.

What Are Sound Notifications for Android?

It’s a new feature that’s available on Android smartphones and Wear OS by Google smartwatches.

When the device’s microphone picks up one of ten specific sounds, the user will receive an alert through a push notification, phone vibrations, or a flashing camera light. The sounds the feature can detect include:

  • Smoke and fire alarms
  • Barking dogs
  • Crying babies
  • Beeping appliances
  • Running water
  • Knocking at the door

Clearly, Google designed Sounds Notifications to increase safety for deaf and hard of hearing people by boosting their awareness of what’s happening around them.

Sounds Notifications is an offline feature, which means it will continue to work when your device is not connected to the internet.

Sound Notifications is a very welcome development, and I encourage people with hearing loss to take advantage of it.

However, Sound Notifications should be one of several technological tools in the “safety toolbox” of individuals with hearing loss.

For example, a smoke alarm designed for people with hearing loss should be in the bedroom of anyone who struggles with their hearing.

Smoke detectors for the hard of hearing flash high-intensity strobe lights when the alarm detects a possible fire.

Do Other Android Features Benefit People with Hearing Loss?

Actually, Sound Notifications isn’t the first feature Google has created for the hard of hearing community.

Sound Notifications is an extension of an existing Android feature called Live Transcribe.

That feature displays a speaker’s words on the smartphone screen in real-time.

Therefore, when it’s difficult to understand what someone is saying, Live Transcribe allows the user to read the speaker’s words instead.

How Do I Access These Features?

Go to the Settings menu on your Android device, find Accessibility, then enable Sound Notifications.

Live Transcribe may be a pre-loaded app on your phone. If you’re unable to locate Sound Notifications or Live Transcribe on your smartphone, they’re available to download from Google Play.

Other Technological Advances for the Hard of Hearing

Bluetooth technology allows hearing aids to connect wirelessly to devices like smartphones, tablets, and televisions.

In turn, wireless connectivity gives hearing aid wearers the convenience of streaming audio directly to the hearing aids.

Yes, that means the wearer can hear phone calls, music, driving directions, and other device audio through the hearing aids, functioning like wireless earbuds for the smartphone.

Also, every major hearing aid maker has an app that gives wearers the ability to adjust their hearing aids with their smartphones.

To learn more about how to link up your hearing aids to your smartphone, contact our team!

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Dr. Joni A. Ruiz AuD

Dr. Joni A. Ruiz AuD

Dr. Joni Ruiz is the owner and doctor of audiology at Big Thicket Hearing Aids and Audiology. She earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009 from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. Selected for a prestigious fourth-year externship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Dr. Ruiz has more than ten years’ experience as an audiologist. She has a heart for patient-centered care. At her hearing care practice, she performs comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluations, provides aural rehabilitation to her patients and their loved ones, dispenses state of the art hearing aids, and manages the care of said devices for their life. Dr. Ruiz is dedicated to patient education regarding hearing loss, hearing protection, and hearing aid selection.
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