As an audiologist, I am passionate about helping the hard of hearing community overcome hearing challenges and lead better lives. Witnessing our patients gain the ability to pick sounds they previously couldn’t is a great joy.

We appreciate that technology has played a significant role in managing hearing loss. Alerting devices like fire and smoke alarms, vibrating pillow inserts, doorbell alerts, and so forth have helped many hard of hearing people live independently without risking their safety.

Google is also keen on enhancing the safety of this community.

They recently released an alerting feature on their Android software called Sound Notifications. This comes after the Bluetooth technology breakthrough that allows hard of hearing people to stream music and TV sounds to their hearing aids.

What are Sound Notifications?

Sound Notifications is a smartphone feature running on Google’s Android.

It alerts you on crucial sounds in your environment, like a baby’s cry, doorbell ring, fire and smoke alarms, running water, dog barks, etc.

The feature is accessible to all Android smartphone users via an app called Live Transcribe & Sound Notifications. The app comes pre-installed on select Android phones, or you can download it from the Google Play Store.

How Does Sound Notifications Work?

Once you have the app running on your phone, you can turn on Sound Notifications by simply going to Settings → Accessibility → Sound Notifications.

After that, you choose which sounds you would like to be alerted to from a selection of at least ten diverse sounds. The last step involves choosing notification preferences.

That is, would you prefer to be notified using a flashing light, vibration, or via a connected wearable.

When turned on, the feature transcribes sounds in real-time, and the text appears on your screen. It’s an all-inclusive feature that supports over 80 languages and dialects and allows you to alternate between two languages.

Another amazing aspect of Sound Notifications is that you can review what has been happening around the gadget for up to 12 hours back at any given time. Likewise, you can save the transcriptions on your device for up to three days.

Technological Advancements for the Hard of Hearing

Well, the benefits of technological advancement to the hard of hearing community are immense. We cannot exhaust them in this post. However, the bottom line is that their lives have improved drastically. Some notable benefits include;

  • Enhanced Safety

The invention of alerting systems like fire and smoke alarms or Google’s Sound Notifications is an excellent move towards enhancing their safety. You can easily connect the smartphone to digital hearing aids, a wrist wearable, or even a vibrating pillow insert to receive timely, crucial alerts.

  • Improved Communication

Digital hearing aids are a great invention that has helped people with hearing challenges to improve their hearing ability. This has improved their communication capabilities and helped them thrive in social, learning, and work setups.

  • Great Convenience

Advanced hearing aids and alert systems have afforded hard of hearing people great convenience. For instance, a mother with a hearing loss can enjoy some ‘me’ time on the porch while keeping watch over her sleeping child inside the house.

With the help of a feature like Sound Notifications, she can leave her smartphone in the child’s room and be notified through her hearing aids when the child wakes up.

In Parting

Audiology has made great leaps, thanks to technology.

And with Google and other tech giants collaborating with the industry to enhance the lives of the hard of hearing community, we hope to transform more lives. In particular, Sound Notifications is an affordable alert option for anyone with digital hearing aids. It provides great convenience while guaranteeing the safety of people with hearing loss and their dependants.

Would you like to link your smartphone to your hearing aids to start using Sound Notifications? Get in touch with our friendly team at Pacific Hearing Inc today.

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Gregory Frazer, PhD, AuD, CCC-A, ABA, NBC-HIS

Gregory Frazer, PhD, AuD, CCC-A, ABA, NBC-HIS

Dr. Gregory Frazer entered private practice Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensing in 1982. For 14 years he owned and operated Hearing Care Associates, which had 23 offices and was one of the largest audiology private practices in the U.S. Dr. Frazer is a well-known clinician and teacher and was the first audiologist to obtain dual doctorates in Audiology, both a PhD. in Audiology as well as the new Clinical Doctorate of Audiology, the AuD. He is Board Certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, American Academy of Audiology, and the National Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences. Dr. Frazer specializes in the evaluation and treatment of vertigo, dizziness, and hearing and balance disorders. Dr. Frazer is experienced in working with infants, children, and adults. He is semi-fluent in Spanish and Sign Language.