Android accessibility features help those with vision, physical, and hearing impairments to successfully navigate the internet or interact with others through their smart devices. Magnified text fonts, contrast options, and voice access that allow hands-free navigation are a few examples.

Recently, Google unveiled another Android accessibility feature that can help those with hearing loss live a safer life in any environment where an emergency signal such as a fire alarm or police siren sounds within their immediate environment.

Advances in Assistive Devices for the Hearing Impaired

Hearing loss affects approximately 48 million Americans.

Even in the workplace, hearing-impaired employees face safety and health challenges.

They often have difficulty understanding audible warnings and alarms designed to indicate material handling vehicles are approaching.

Governments have responded with guidelines that include emergency alerting systems that provide visual and audible warnings that can be perceived above ambient noise by all employees.

There are many other assistive devices designed to help persons with hearing loss or a voice, speech, or language disorder to communicate. Bluetooth-enabled hearing devices make wireless connections to smartphones to stream sound with unparalleled quality.

Alerting devices can also be connected to telephones, smoke alarms, and doorbells to emit noticeable sounds or lights to let someone with hearing loss know that an event is taking place.

Portable vibrating devices will alert parents or caregivers when an infant is crying. Newer models can even analyze the sound and determine if the baby’s cry indicates hunger, boredom, or agitation.

This Android Feature Helps Everyone Stay Safe

Tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are making huge leaps to develop technology for the hard-of-hearing.

For instance, Alexa can easily be paired with Bluetooth speakers if you have difficulty hearing.

Facebook is launching a tool that uses object recognition technology to identify and describe an image so that visually impaired and blind people can hear—and therefore visualize what’s in a photo posted on the social network.

And now, with the new Android Sound Notifications feature, the hearing impaired or people wearing headphones who might otherwise miss nearby sounds can be alerted when something in their environment demands their attention.

Android Sound Notifications alerts the user to critical household sounds with a camera light flash, vibrations, or a push notification.

Not only will the hearing impaired be made safer, anyone who has temporary limited hearing due to wearing headphones, earplugs at work, or an acute injury to the ear will benefit.

The technology is extremely convenient because it easily communicates through both your phone and accessories.

Even if you’re streaming music or TV, you still get the alert directly to your hearing aid.

Sometimes the hearing impaired are left wondering and worried about sounds around them that come and go.

With this Android feature, you can view a timeline of sounds over the past few hours to better understand what led to a broadcast sound event.

Sometimes, a dropped object may cause a dog to bark, or children playing can cause a car alarm to sound.

A snapshot of sounds can reduce confusion when no obvious emergency is being alerted.

If you need more insight into linking up your hearing aids to your smartphone, contact our team at Preferred Hearing Centers.

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Mark D. Johnson, HAS, BC-HIS, A.C.A.

Mark began his career in the hearing healthcare field in 1993 with a major hearing aid/care provider. He opened his own practice in 1994 in Orlando, Fl.  In 1995, he became board-certified, and through continued training received his A.C.A. credentialing as a certified audioprosthologist in 1997. He has conducted many hearing educational workshops, both for professionals and for the general public, and trained many individuals in the hearing healthcare field.