Impaired hearing affects 14.9% of children, according to the Center for Hearing and Speech, and can dramatically impair language development. Only so much can be done medically for those who suffer, but there are ways to treat and cope. And now, there are smartphone apps to help.
In honor of May’s designation as “Better Hearing & Speech Month,” we’ve compiled a list of great mobile apps, primarily for iPhone and iPad, to help diagnose and treat the hearing and speech impaired.
- Siemens Hearing Test—Do you suspect you may be hearing impaired? This free app tests your ability to recognize words from background noise and compares your accuracy to the average score of normal listeners. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step to treating it. This test can tell you whether or not you should seek further medical attention.
- Hearing Loss Simulator—Living with someone who is hearing impaired can be a trying experience at times. This app costs $1.99 and can help family and friends better understand that loved one. The app even adjusts the simulation to the degree of their hearing impairment.
- Speech Trainer 3D—This $7.99 app animates how the tongue, lips and mouth properly move during speech. The 3D demonstration helps the speech impaired practice certain sounds, consonants, and vowels in the English language. A recent update allows you to use iPad and iPhone cameras to film yourself speaking and do a side-by-side comparison to the animation.
- Eye Contact – Toybox—Previously featured on “60 Minutes” This $2.99 app rewards children for focusing on the human faces displayed on the screen. Maintaining eye contact can be a difficult skill for children to learn and is especially important for hearing impaired individuals.
- EarTrumpet—Best when used with a headset, the EarTrumpet offers hearing enhancement tools. The $3.99 app was developed by a medical student and applies scientific inquiry and analysis to help the hearing-impaired better understand the world around them.
These apps demonstrate how modern technology is addressing real human problems. Likewise, the ZOMM Wireless Leash and the myZOMM app could be a great service to a hearing and speech-impaired individual in a moment of panic. The center button can be programmed to call either 911 or a number of the ZOMM owner’s choice when it’s held for a period of time.
How are you observing “Better Hearing & Speech Month”?