In a step toward better serving a potentially huge demographic, Google has unveiled two new Android apps for the deaf and hearing impaired.
The World Health Organization estimates that 900 million people will be living with hearing loss by 2055 and, with smartphones already being omnipresent, Google has begun taking steps to improve the communication options available.
One new feature is Live Transcribe, which automatically translates spoken words into text on your phone screen.
The hope is that the tool will make it easier for people who are hard of hearing to communicate more easily and independently, not just during business meetings, but during everyday conversations as well. Available in over 70 languages and dialects, Live Transcribe also has two-way conversation capabilities—for those who don’t want to speak back, they can respond on a type-back keyboard.
Sound Amplifier is for those who need an audio boost every now and then—especially in crowded, loud spaces like restaurants, lobbies and airports.
The app lets you filter and amplify sounds in your environment all while you monitor them through your headphones. You can even customize your settings based on where you spend the most of your time.
While Sound Amplifier is already available in the Google Play store, Live Transcribe is only available in limited beta on the Pixel 3 (sign up here to find out when it becomes more widely available). For more details on both products, check out the Google description.