Top 10 Apps For Deaf People – Free Downloads to Change Your Life

Published: May 2nd, 2016

a mobile phone with deaf apps on screenTechnology is a remarkable thing. Every day new developments, gadgets, devices and discoveries are made which have the potential to change the world as we know it. For the deaf and hard of hearing, transcription devices, captioning, amplified phones, bluetooth and of course, hearing aids, are breaking down key communication barriers that can inhibit the lives of many.

As firm believers in the power of technology to transform the lives of people who are deaf or hard of hearing, Deaf Unity enlisted the help of blogger, Ellie Parfitt, to round up the best apps for deaf people. Here’s a snapshot of the fantastic gadgets and tools out there:

Glide – Video Chat Messenger

Glide is a deaf person’s favourite. The famous video messaging app allows you to send super fast videos up to 5 minutes long, and completely hands-free! Other elements include group chats and uploading videos to social media. It’s great for those who use BSL. (Requires 3G/wifi).

Available on both iOS and Android. Find out more about Glide.

SoundHound and Shazam

These are brilliant apps for deaf music lovers! If you hear a song that you like on the radio or at a concert, these apps instantly recognise it and will stream live lyrics to your device. It’s a great way for deaf people to get involved at parties/concerts and to learn the words to new songs quickly and easily. 

Both aps are available on iOS and Android. Find out more about SoundHound and Shazam.

Interpreter Now

This is an instant video-relay app specifically designed for BSL users who can’t use the phone. Similar to NGTS, using any ordinary phone, BSL users can communicate with others via a qualified BSL interpreter, with no need for any extra equipment. (Requires 3G/wifi)

Interpreter Now is available on both iOS and Android devices. 

Notes

The Notes app is usually installed on a smartphone, but it’s really handy for deaf people! If you’re in a noisy environment and can’t quite hear what the person you’re talking to is saying, get them to type it on this app. It’s also good for BSL users who want to communicate with non-signers if an interpreter isn’t around.

a deaf girl using phone app to play musicEntertainment Apps

There aren’t many on demand apps which have subtitles, which is why Action on Hearing Loss are doing the ‘Subtitle It’ campaign. However, Netflix and BBC iPlayer are leading the way in providing an accessible video, TV and film viewing experience with subtitles.

Netflix and BBC iPlayer are available on both iOS and Android.

Mobile Banking Apps

Mobile banking is great for deaf people who can’t use the phone, or who don’t like the hassle of going into a bank and trying to communicate with someone behind the screen. Mobile banking apps are practical for checking balances and transferring money in a few simple steps, without the need to make any calls or speak to anyone directly. Many banks offer free downloads on iOS and Android devices. (Requires 3G/wifi).  

Travel Apps – Waze & National Rail

Travelling and using public transport can be tricky for the deaf and hard of hearing. It can be a nightmare catching travel updates, listening out for announcements or even trying to find the information screens. Travel apps such as Waze and National Rail are simple to use, and provide all the information you need on demand, so you can travel confidently and safely, absolutely anywhere.

Find out more about Waze – the world’s largest community-based navigation app – and download National Rail on your mobile device now to make your train journeys easier.

NGTS (Next Generation Text Service)

This is a fantastic app for helping deaf and hard of hearing people to communicate over the phone via a text relay assistant. NGTS is especially handy for using at work and can be tailored to meet your specific communication needs. You can choose from type and read, speak and read, type and hear, speak and hear options, and it’s really simple to use.

Find out more about NGTS.

deaf girl using a mobile phone app to make a callInclusive Britain

This app has a variety of information about places in the UK that are accessible for disabled people. It allows you to search for venues, such as hotels, nature reserves and tourist attractions which might have assistive technology such as hearing loops and flashing fire alarms to make communication and getting around easier. The must-have app for travelling around Britain.

Find out more about Inclusive Britain app. 

Skype – Voice Calls, Video Calls & Instant Messages

This is a free to use, video calling app with instant messaging. It’s really handy for deaf and hard of hearing people, because you are always facing the person you’re talking to, and if you mishear what the person says, they can type it into a chat box whilst on the call. (Requires 3G/4G/wifi).

Available on both iOS and Android. Find out more about Skype

Would you like to write an article for Deaf Unity to spread awareness and provide tips to the deaf community? Contact our editor, Tamara at tamara.marshall@deafunity.org with your ideas today!

13 Responses to “Top 10 Apps For Deaf People – Free Downloads to Change Your Life”

  1. Shannon says:

    Hi,

    BSL have Intperter now app? What about ASL ?

    Thank you.

  2. Akel says:

    Hi

    Could anyone recommend any system that would help deaf people to use their sign and simultaneously get the text?

    Thanks for any suggestion.

    AKEL

  3. Lee says:

    Hi,

    My father has recently gone from being partially deaf to totally deaf and having to write everything down when trying to have a conversation is very tedious, Is there an app that allows a user to speak into their phone and the words appear on the screen?

    Thanks

    • Dri says:

      There’s an app called Ava. I hope this helps

    • andy says:

      Hiya. I was just thinking about this same question. If you google “speech to text app” you will find some options for phones. I don’t know which one is best, but I hope that helps.

    • albert says:

      My mother gone same case as your father,, we start to use speechnote really handy.

    • Ana says:

      Hi, I recommend using the Make it big Android app, easy to use and highly appreciated by the Deaf community users. Try it and leave a feedback, we are trying to improve the app to become more useful to all users! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.suspedeal.makeitbig

  4. Derek says:

    Modern hearing aids boost specific frequencies for each user.
    Is there software to do this for recorded sound.p played on iPhones and the like?
    Could it actually work with sound from an iPhone mike direct to the iPhone earpieces and replace a deaf aid?

  5. Jorja Boyd says:

    Hi I’m 14 and I’ve been half deaf but recently gone completely deaf and they said I’ll never get it back. I can sign a little bit and read lips a little bit but I was woudneirng if Their was a app that tells u what people are saying I’m a phone call conversation cause my mum can’t really text so we used to call each other cause it was easier but I can’t hear thank u. Also is there a app where people can talk into your phone and it comes up words ?? Thanks

    • Ben Gunn says:

      Jorja, I am wondering the same thing. Speechnote mentioned above doesn’t solve this (for me, anyway). How can I talk to my recently-deaf father on the phone, and have him read it as text? There is some kind of phone-company application for this in the U.S., but we’re in Canada and we don’t have it. Advice from anyone, please? Poor Dad, his world would open up a lot if he could use the phone again!

    • Wladyslaw Mejka says:

      Hi, you can use RogerVoice for phoning. Incoming calls are converted to text you read. You can either reply with your voice or by texting. If the latter, the person calling hears a synthesised voice speak what you have texted. I tried it and it works. Your service provider needs to allow call forwarding to transfer all your calls from your phone number to the Roger voice number.
      On conversations you can use something like Word and link it to voice command – it is pretty good.

  6. Jack says:

    There is an android media player app that goes by the name of VibePlayer. This app has a technology that allows people to create vibration data for sound in audio / video files. People can use this app to create vibration data and deaf people can benefit from that.

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