Android Sound Notifications Can Help Those with Hearing Loss

Posted on October 8, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Google with 6 Comments

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.”

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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