Android Sound Notifications Can Help Those with Hearing Loss

Google announced an interesting Android accessibility feature that provides push notifications when it detects sounds around you that might need attention. This feature is obviously ideal for those with hearing loss, but it can also be used by people wearing headphones who might otherwise miss nearby sounds.

“Sound Notifications is a new feature on Android that provides push notifications for critical sounds around you,” Google revealed. “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.”

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These important and critical sounds can include such things as baby sounds, smoke and fire alarms, appliances beeping, water running, door knocking, dogs barking, and more, Google notes. And Sound Notifications works with other compatible devices, including Google’s Wear OS. “You can get text notifications with vibrations on your wrist when there is important noise detected by your phone,” the firm notes. “That way you can continue to get alerts about critical sounds even when you are asleep, a concern shared by many in the deaf and hard of hearing community.”

There’s also a timeline view so that you can get a snapshot of sounds over the previous few hours and help understand what led to a sound event. For example, an alarm might go off, causing a dog to start barking.

If you don’t have Sound Notifications in Android already—it’s in Settings> Accessibility > Sound Notifications—then you can download both Live Transcribe and Sound Notifications from the Google Play Store, and then return to Settings to enable this feature.

You can learn more about Sound Notifications from the Android Accessibility support website.

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Conversation 7 comments

  • rmlounsbury

    Premium Member
    08 October, 2020 - 5:26 pm

    <p>Apparently Google's quite Spring &amp; Summer meant they where cooking up new functions to add to Google Assistant. I've been on a couple Android sites today and they are announcing Google Assistant features by the boatload. </p>

  • rosyna

    08 October, 2020 - 6:48 pm

    <p>To enable this feature in iOS 14, go to Settings &gt; Accessibility &gt; Sound Recognition (in the Hearing Section)</p>

  • UK User

    Premium Member
    09 October, 2020 - 4:46 am

    <p>Unless a person has suffered hearing loss of any kind, partial or severe, they will never understand the difficulties of people who go about their daily chores in a hearing world free from such disabilities. Yes that goes for most ailments but for some reason, well here in the UK at least, hearing loss is still regarded as a bit of a joke, eh? what? and all that. So any advancement towards help in this direction is most welcome, in the UK television subtitles are a big help to many but to my disappointment many of the American programmes featured on our Freeview service lack such a basic service. There are some excellent documentary channels on offer, but alas no subtitles available so I don't watch. This Google feature sounds like a helpful one, but like many push notices, too many and people tend to turn them off, another set of notices may become more of a hindrance than a help. </p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      09 October, 2020 - 8:40 am

      I hope no one treats this like a joke, it’s absolutely serious. And for everyone, eventually: Hearing loss is common with aging, regardless of other factors, and we’re all living a lot longer than we used to. This kind of thing is both amazing and appreciated.

      • SvenJ

        09 October, 2020 - 9:50 am

        <blockquote><a href="#585363"><em>In reply to paul-thurrott:</em></a><em> </em>It is certainly a great boon for the hearing impaired, but it has utility for others as well. Many of us may be spending a good deal of time on Skype, Zoom, etc with headphones on. Maybe just listening to music to drown out sounds that would interrupt our concentration. This can override some of that with a notification or buzz on a smartwatch for a baby crying, knock on the door, or other things we may not hear clearly. </blockquote><p><br></p>

  • hearingaiduser

    09 October, 2020 - 2:36 pm

    <p>Just a quick FYI, with many of the hearing aids with new technology besides Bluetooth and rechargeable, some handy features on the hearing aids such as touch control don't work well with these audible sounds enabled on the mobile device.</p>

  • JH_Radio

    Premium Member
    11 October, 2020 - 10:20 am

    <p>Yay! And for those that are DeafBlind, maybe this means you won't have to carry yet one more device as in SilentCall devices around with your phone too. There's some great stuff on both platforms, and I really could never choose iOS over android. It really depends on what i'm doing. One things which I love in Android is the independent volume controls for each app that can be set. Samsung especially has some good stuff which I've not seen elsewhere unless you route. Now if only they would get b better braille support on android… Yeah that's sorely needed. and i'm really curious to see how the devs take advantage of multi-finger support in Talkback. But yay for this! I know iOS14 has a new sound notifier thing also. </p>

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