GOOGLE LAUNCHES LIVE TRANSCRIBE AND SOUND AMPLIFIER APPS FOR THOSE HARD OF HEARING

In order to provide better support for users who are deaf or hard of hearing, Google has just rolled out two new apps — Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier.

Live Transcribe

As the name suggests, this app helps make everyday conversations much more accessible as it takes in speech through the phone’s microphone and converts it into captions in real-time. The app uses Google’s prowess in speech recognition to make things much simpler for those who are hard of hearing.

There are a few extra features in the app as well that make it easier for those who are hard-of-hearing to use. For example, there’s haptic feedback so that if someone’s speaking you from behind, the phone will vibrate to alert you that someone’s talking to you. There’s also a loudness indicator in the upper right corner, with an inner and outer circle.

If the inner circle gets larger, that means you’re in a particularly noisy environment, informing the user that the other person will have to speak louder in order for the app to work. It will also let the deaf person know that they’ll have to speak louder to be heard.

Live Transcribe is available in over 70 languages and dialects. Apart from providing live transcription, the app also enables two-way conversation via a type-back keyboard for users who have difficulty speaking.

Sound Amplifier

Google first demonstrated Sound Amplifier in May last year at I/O, its annual developer conference. The app features as a new option inside ‘Accessibility Settings’ that takes the user to a screen with an array of sliders for adjusting various sound settings. However, this feature only works with wired earphones or headphones.

Sound Amplifier works by increasing quiet sounds, while not exaggerating loud sounds. You can customise sound enhancement settings and apply noise reduction to minimise distracting background noise. The app’s use cases are situations where there is a lot of background noise, like noisy public areas and airport lounges.

While Live Transcribe is available in early access limited beta through the Play Store, Sound Amplifier is available on the Play Store but works only on devices running Android 9 Pie.

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