Tuesday, February 26, 2013

FREE Android Apps for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

by Rosemarie Punzalan

Technology plays an important role in helping the deaf and hard of hearing (DHOH) community interact as well as communicate.  Below are some FREE Android-based apps that allow the DHOH to get the most out of their devices:

  • Google Voice: Google Voice is a multifunction voice mail application that makes it possible to make free calls using your mobile phone as well as live Instant Messaging (IM) chats from either a WiFi connection or a 3G. You can also make cheap international phone calls with your Google number and send free text messages. You can listen to voicemail and read transcripts if you are not able to understand the voice mail - this is extremely useful for deaf/hard of hearing consumers.

  • Speak It: This application talks for you. You basically write the text (whatever you want) and click on the play button. The program has a TTS engine that will generate voice from the text that you write. With this app you also have the ability to create your own ringtone and alarm, all you have to do is write the text and set it as your ringtone. Lastly, there's a Home Screen widget that gives deaf people more functionality by saving a urgent message/warning on the home screen and then all they have to do is take out their phone and press the button for it to play their message.

  • TED Air: TED is a small nonprofit devoted to 'Ideas Worth Spreading'. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment and Design.  You can watch TED talks with subtitles in other languages, watch the TED talks that are considered the 'Best of the Web', and you can search using both English and/or many other languages. This app also gives you the ability to download TED talks and watch them later without WiFi connection. www.ted.com

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