Missing important sounds is a potentially hazardous problem for people with hearing loss.

The good news is that many technology companies continue to develop and enhance hearing technology to help the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Google recently released a new accessibility feature on Android smartphones to assist the hard of hearing.

The new feature is called Sound Notifications.

Who Can Benefit From Sound Notifications?

People who experience temporary or permanent hearing loss may benefit from Sound Notifications.

The new feature aims to help people be aware of their surroundings; this includes people who are hard of hearing, deaf, or wearing headphones.

Sound Notifications alerts the user to critical sounds.

Missing a vital sound can be hazardous.

Sounds alert us to potential problems and situations that require our immediate attention.

Some of these crucial sounds include a dog barking, a car horn beeping, a fire alarm, a security alarm, a knock on the door, water running, and a baby crying.

How Does Sound Notifications Work?

Google recently described the new feature, “Designed for the estimated 466 million people in the world with hearing loss. Sound Notifications makes important and critical household sounds more accessible with push notifications, a flash from your camera light, or vibrations on your Android phone. This feature can also be helpful if someone is unable to hear temporarily as a result of an injury, wearing earplugs or headphones.”

Sound Notifications can work as a standalone feature on a smartphone or sync with a compatible smartwatch to enable additional features.

Sound Notifications can send push notifications and vibrations to a smartwatch, bringing immediate attention to the wearer; this is incredibly helpful during sleep when life’s important sounds may otherwise go unnoticed.

Sound Notifications includes a Timeline View, which provides valuable insight into what occurred before and after a sound.

These sound clues can help the user to access the situation more accurately. Timeline View adds context to sounds; an example of this is when the doorbell rings, and then the dog barks.

To check if your Android phone is already equipped with the new feature, navigate to Settings, select Accessibility, and choose Sound Notifications.

If you do not see the option for Sound Notifications, then you may download it manually. In the Google Play Store, search for Live Transcribe & Sound Notifications, and then click Install.

Once the app finishes installing, navigate back to Settings, and enable Sound Notifications.

Other Technological Advances that Benefit People Experiencing Hearing Loss

Technology continues to improve the lives of people who experience hearing loss. Hearing aids equipped with Bluetooth conveniently connect to compatible smartphones and music/TV streaming devices.

Advanced hearing aid settings enable the wearer to comfortably adapt to a variety of noisy or quiet environments.

Advanced sound settings help the wearer to focus on essential sounds and conversations.

As hearing technology continues to evolve, people with hearing loss have more ways to stay connected to life’s sounds.

North Houston Hearing Solutions specializes in hearing loss and provides patients with advanced hearing solutions.

For further insights about how to link up your hearing aids to your smartphone, contact our team!

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Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry in 2003, and earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA), and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association.