Can a smartphone app replace your hearing aid? While there are excellent apps out there for the technologically inclined, hearing aids won’t be phased out quite yet. Here are some useful hearing apps that can help you to protect, amplify, and supplement your hearing.
Audicus Hearing App
This free, non-clinical hearing test provides users with an uncomplicated way to test their hearing. Simply plug headphones into a smartphone, open up the free app, and listen for the tones. It is best to complete the test in a quiet area to see which frequencies are harder to hear than others. There is a button to press every time a tone is heard, and results of the test are then emailed to the user. An easy introduction into the Audicus hearing world!
This hearing app is part of the larger BioAid project and allows basic headphones to mirror the uses of hearing aids. Users identify what sounds they want amplified, and direct their phone’s microphone towards that sound. The algorithm within the application then picks up the sound and amplifies it through the user’s headphones. While it cannot be used to process calls on the phone, it can be helpful for in person conversations. Users can adjust the settings easily within the app, and there are 24 settings to choose from to allow a personalized experience. In order to fully utilize some of the settings that muffle loud sounds, users need headphones that are placed snugly within the ear. Currently, this hearing app is free for Apple users, but not yet available for Androids.
This hearing app is a basic, fun way to test hearing in a casual setting. By no means should it be trusted as closely as an audiogram, but this app can inform users of potential hearing loss. It plays eight different frequencies of sound for user who can notate whether or not they hear the sound. Those without hearing loss should have no problem hearing all eight sounds, while those with hearing loss may not hear some of the frequencies. This is available on Android and Apple for .99 cents.
Play It Down
This hearing app offers three features including the “Auto-Old My Music.” Users can play music from their phone and turn the dial to hear how the music sounds to older individuals. Users can get an idea how someone 20 years older than them may hear the same song as someone only five years older. The next feature, the “Ear Knob,” allows users to turn up and down the frequency of a sound. Users can compare with their friends and family who has the greatest hearing range. The last setting is the “Volume Zone” which measures the volume of different sounds. Users can check to see if a fire siren is louder than fireworks and compare other daily sounds. This is free for Apple users.
hearScreen offers users hearing testing, data capture, noise monitoring, and automated testing. This app shows patient details and uses GPS data to inform users of their closest hearing professional. Users then go through a screening process, and data is calibrated in relation to background noises. hearScreen has given over 16,000 screening test through the app which was originally made at the University of Pretoria. This hearing app is free to Apple and Android users.
If you are on the market to learn about hearing loss and test your own hearing, a smartphone app may be the perfect place to start!