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Senior Citizen's Guide to Pittsburgh

You’ll APP-reciate these cool apps recommended by local expert

With well over 4.5 million apps on the market, it can feel daunting to find a few good ones dedicated to hearing and communication empowerment. Here’s a quick list of four easy apps to check out:

  1. Live Transcribe
    This Google app for Android-powered smartphones transcribes in-person conversations in real time. The program can turn speech from more than 70 languages and dialects — even bilingual chats — into text on the phone’s screen. It can also warn of important sounds such as the beep of a smoke alarm.

  2. NIOSH Sound Level Meter
    Though it can’t replace professional instruments or expert opinion, this app uses your compatible mobile device’s built-in microphone to measure the sound level in your environment. It’s a potentially handy tool, considering that excess noise is one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss.

  3. SoundWatch
    This smartwatch-based app uses machine learning to alert the user to certain types of sounds they can preselect — a car honk, a baby cry, a cat’s meow, or running water, for example. It’s not for emergencies or high-risk situations but can help enhance general awareness of your environment.  

  4. Marlee Signs
    This app for children and adults teaches basic American Sign Language (ASL) with Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf. ASL, common in the U.S. and Canada, offers another way to connect with others regardless of hearing ability but can be especially useful for those who are or have friends or loved ones who are deaf or have profound hearing loss.

“Sound is such an important part of everyday life,” says Dr. Suzanne Yoder, audiologist at HearWell Center, “It keeps people connected, which makes exploring apps that support communication wellness all the more fun.”

As with any app, availability, functionality, and cost can change. The mobile apps listed above are free as of this writing, but compatibility with iOS- or Android-powered phones, tablets, or watches can vary per program, so be sure to read about them in the relevant online app store for more details.

About HearWell Center — HearWell Center, a full-service audiology practice, has proudly helped the Pittsburgh community hear better since 2007.  Learn more at www.hearwellcenter.com.

Submitted by:  Dr. Yoder, Audiologist and Owner of HearWell Center - www.hearwellcenter.com

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