As the focus on accessibility for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing continues to increase, there’s a wide range of apps available for both iOS and Android devices that can significantly improve access and communication with this community.
In addition to apps that you can download, there are accessibility features already built-in to mobile phones and tablets. Check out our Accessiblity page on ATT.com to learn about common built-in features that can be activated like “LED flash for alerts”, “gestures” and “closed captioning” — but these can also be supplemented with downloadable applications from the App Store (for iOS devices) or the Play Store (for Android devices).
Please note, while AT&T does not endorse any specific third-party apps, we believe these apps are some of the best options that exist on the accessibility market today to support communication with Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.
APP #1: Ava
What is Ava?
This app supports people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to follow a live group conversation. Ava is an instant transcription app that transcribes the words of a group of people — adding subtitles to any live situation so you can SEE what everyone is saying and reducing the likelihood of missing a spoken word.
How does it work?
Each participant installs the application on their smartphone, and using the microphone, the conversations are transcribed. As people speak, Ava transcribes what they say, converting speech to text (and from text to speech).
Why is it important?
For many people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, wearing masks makes communicating even more difficult. Masks muffle sound, making it harder to understand speech and higher-pitched voices. Masks also remove the ability see facial expressions, which helps to better understand what is being said. Options like the Ava app make communication easier in group settings.
FUN FACT: Ava Closed Captions are also available for Mac & Windows and will display captions on top of a video call, shared screen, or presentation, so you can follow comfortably at work and in digital settings as well.
APP #2: Marco Polo
What is Marco Polo?
Marco Polo is a video messenger app so Deaf people using sign language can quickly leave short video messages without having to schedule a live call. It combines the convenience of text and voice messages with the expressiveness of video that captures every gesture and facial expression. Learn more at https://www.marcopolo.me
APP #3: Cardzilla
What is Cardzilla?
Cardzilla is a mobile app that enlarges the text and emojis you type to fill the screen of your iPhone or iPad, so others can read it at a distance.
Why is it important?
Cardzilla makes it easy for Deaf people to communicate with non-ASL users in a fast and simple way by displaying messages in large text.
APP #4: Sound Amplifier (Android)
What is Sound Amplifier?
Sound Amplifier makes everyday conversations and surrounding sounds more accessible among people who are hard-of-hearing, using just your Android phone and a pair of headphones. Use Sound Amplifier to filter, augment, and amplify sounds around you and on your device, to provide a more comfortable and natural listening experience.
Is there an iOS version? The Sound Amplifier app for Android is the equivalent of the Live Listen option included in basic iPhone settings. However, it offers more advanced functions in terms of sound volume adjustments and eliminates background noise.
>>> Download the app directly for Android
DESKTOP APP: Web Captioner for Desktop
What is Web Captioner?
If you are attending a class lecture for example and using your computer, Web Captioner adds captioning in real-time, right in the browser of your computer. All you need is a microphone. Note: built-in mics are okay, but an external microphone will pick up better sound resulting in more accurate captions.
>>> Download Web Captioner for desktop
BONUS APP: ASL app
What is ASL app?
Made by Deaf people for hearing people so everyone can learn conversational American Sign Language (ASL). It includes phrases and signs organized to make it easier to learn a new visual, spatial language in an intuitive and well-paced way.
>>> Download the app directly for iOS Android