A study published in The Hearing Review addresses the question of whether a smartphone application would be a sufficient substitution for a hearing aid. In the study, each participant was between the age of 50 and 90 years old, had a mild-to-moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss in both ears, and had been wearing hearing aids for less than 3 months.
Some benefits of using a smartphone application versus a hearing aid include:
- Less expensive
- Provides the user with immediate assistance
- Ability to adjust volume
- Not subjected to the negative stigma that hearing aids can have
Despite those benefits, the satisfaction survey from the study indicated that participants were significantly more satisfied with the hearing aid versus the two smartphone apps they used and they were overwhelmingly more willing to recommend the hearing aids to family and friends than the smartphone apps.
The study authors suggest that smartphone applications should be used only as a temporary assistance before moving to hearing aids. Smartphone applications are not a permanent solution for hearing loss management (yet).
With all that said, there are still a few apps that can be useful for someone with hearing loss. Want to use your smartphone to test your hearing? How about to adjust your hearing aid to help you hear the TV better? You guessed it…there's an app for that!
We have broken down some of the top apps for the ears, from a hearing loss simulator app, to an app that can protect your ears by ensuring that you're not listening to your music too loud.
Made for Hearing Aid Apps
These apps act as a remote control for your hearing aids. They are specific for each hearing aid brand and must be used with a compatible hearing aid model.
|Signia||miniTek Remote App||This Android app acts as a remote control for your Siemens miniTek device and allows the user to control several wirelessly synced audio devices with their hearing aids. The app will allow you to control them seamlessly and discreetly.||Android, iOS|
|Signia||touchControl||A remote control that works with Siemens wireless hearing aids. Change your hearing aid programs, adjust volume, and adjust bass and treble sounds with the app alone.||Android, iOS|
|Phonak||Support App||It's like a virtual assistant for your hearing aids, this app will walk you step-by-step through the process of using your hearing aids. It includes step-by-step instructions and a troubleshooting guide to get you comfortable using your devices.||Android, iOS|
|Phonak||RemoteControl App||Works along with the Phonak Compilot devices to customize your hearing aid settings and configure its wireless streaming functions.||Android, iOS|
|Starkey||TruLink||This app is the ultimate controller of Starkey's newest Made for iPhone (and now Android) hearing aids. It allows complete control over your Starkey Halo hearing aids without any intermediary device.||Android, iOS|
|Beltone||HearPlus||Use this app with your compatible Beltone hearing aids to adjust volume, settings, programs, and check battery status.||Android, iOS|
|ReSound||Smart||This app allows you to fine-tune your ReSound Smart hearing aids without any intermediary device. Change programs, volume, access the virtual user's guide, find misplaced hearing aids, balance sounds, and seamlessly sync with other audio devices with the app.||Android, iOS|
|ReSound||Control||An app that works with ReSound's wireless hearing aids to adjust programs, volume, and control your other ReSound streaming devices.||Android, iOS|
|Oticon||ConnectLine||Control your wireless streaming settings for your Oticon hearing aids.||Android, iOS|
|Oticon||ON app||Use this app to control your Oticon Opn hearing aids without the need for an intermediary device. Change programs, volume, access the virtual user's guide, find misplaced hearing aids, check battery level, and sync with IFTTT.||Android, iOS|
Hearing Protection Apps
These apps measure the sound level in your environment or from your streaming device and can tell you when you are being exposed to damaging noise levels.
|Sound Meter||Uses the microphone from your Android device to measure how loud your environment is, in decibels, and gives you a reference sound to compare it to.||Android|
|Sound Level Meter||Uses the microphone from your iOS device to measure how loud the environment is, in decibels.||iOS|
|Noise Control Pro||Uses the microphone from your Android device to measure how loud your environment is, in decibels, and allows you to record the sound for later playback.||Android|
|Soundcheck||Measures the noise levels in your environment and determines whether noise protection is recommended to protect your hearing from damage.||Android, iOS|
|Hearangel||Monitors the music levels you are listening to with your audio devices and lets you know when you are in danger of overexposure.||Android, iOS|
|Too Noisy Pro||Used to control the noise level in a classroom by alerting the kids when they are being too noisy.||Android, iOS|
|Hearcules||For people who are frequently exposed to loud noises, this app will tell you how much longer you can stay in that noisy environment without causing hearing damage, and will alert you when you need to take a break from the noise.||iOS|
|Adv Decibel Meter 2.0||Measures the audio power coming into your device's microphones.||iOS|
|Decibel Meter Pro||A decibel meter with graphics optimized for the iPhone.||iOS|
A recent evaluation shows that some of the apps available on iOS may be considered accurate and reliable enough to assess occupational noise exposure.
Tinnitus Relief Apps
These apps will provide different types of therapy sounds to use for tinnitus relief. Some of these apps also include additional relaxation and sleep techniques for managing tinnitus.
|Tinnitracks||Web app which allows you to filter your music in order to use it for a new tinnitus therapy||Android, iOS|
|Relax Noise 3||Uses white, pink, or red noise to mask your tinnitus.||Android|
|myNoise||Uses white noise, rain noise and binaural beats to create sound therapy noise generators.||Android, iOS|
|Tinnitus||Uses the Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) method to habituate your mind to "tune out" the tinnitus.||Android|
|White Noise||Uses environmental sounds to create a relaxing atmosphere.||Android, iOS|
|Tinnitus Therapy||Uses customizable sounds as sound therapy and sound masking to make your tinnitus less noticeable.||Android, iOS|
|Tinnitus Alleviator||Users of this app listen to spectrally modified music designed to retrain the brain to ignore the ringing sounds and stop reacting negatively to them.||iOS|
|Track Your Tinnitus||This app helps you to track your tinnitus so you can find patterns and figure out how your tinnitus is associated with your daily activities.||Android, iOS|
|Tinnitus Relief||This app gives you information about tinnitus and walks you through different relaxation exercises to give you tinnitus relief.||Android|
|Relax Melodies||Select sounds and melodies and combine them to create your own mix to help you sleep.||Android, iOS|
|ReSound Relief||Offers a combination of sound therapy and relaxation exercises to distract you from your tinnitus.||Android, iOS|
|Beltone Tinnitus Calmer||Offers a combination of sound therapy and relaxation exercises to distract you from your tinnitus.||Android, iOS|
|SimplyNoise||Features white, noise, and brown sound samples to help reduce tinnitus and stress.||Android, iOS|
|StopTinnitus||Creates a customized tone to "phase out" your tinnitus.||Android, iOS|
|Tinnitus Balance App||Create customized sounds and music to listen to when your tinnitus is most bothersome.||Android, iOS|
|Whist||Create custom sounds by adjusting volume, pitch, noisiness, and balance to help relieve your tinnitus.||Android, iOS|
|Oticon Tinnitus Sound||Choose from different sound types and create a sound plan to give your relief from your tinnitus when you need it.||Android, iOS|
|Tinnitus: The Cure||An informational app that will help you learn about your tinnitus diagnosis and what you need to understand to overcome the disease.||Android|
Hearing Test Apps
These apps will help you to screen your hearing and estimate how much hearing loss you may have.
|uHear||Give yourself a hearing test to determine if you hear within the normal range and how well you hear in noise.||iOS|
|Siemens Hearing Test||Determine how well you can detect words in background noise.||iOS|
|Hearing Test Pro Free||Tests you hearing in quiet and in noise and explains the results to you using your audiogram.||iOS|
|Better Hearing||Analyzes your hearing to determine at which frequencies you can't hear.||iOS|
|Soundcheck||Screen your hearing and view your results in an easy-to-read format.||iOS|
|Hearing-Check||A quick and simple way to screen your hearing by entering the number you hear.||iOS|
|Mimi Hearing Test||Test your hearing at different frequencies and determine your "hearing age."||Android, iOS|
|Audicus Hearing Test||A quick and simple hearing screening at 6 different frequencies.||iOS|
|Tone Generator||Create your own frequency tones and compare your hearing with your friends.||iOS|
|Jacoti Hearing Center||Uses patented DuoTone technology to provide you with clinically reliable test results that you can track over time.||iOS|
|Sound Scout||A game designed to test the hearing of children.||Android, iOS|
Hearing Enhancement Apps
These apps use sound and/or speech amplification technology to help make listening easier without the use of traditional hearing aids.
|Jacoti ListenApp||use your Apple earphones to hear voices around you clearer and the sound from applications like music players, podcast applications, voice over ip systems, etc.||iOS|
|A personal sound amplifier that can be adjusted individually for each ear.||iOS|
|i-Hear Free||A personal sound amplifier that turns up the volume.||iOS|
|Hearing Aid||Records a conversation and filters out ambient background noises based on voice frequency.||iOS|
|EarMachine||Enhances the sounds around you.||Android, iOS|
|TV Louder||Uses the device microphone to amplify TV sounds without having to turn the TV up.||iOS|
|HearingAmp||This app will amplify sounds and allow the user to adjust sound quality with varying filters.||iOS|
|BioAid||Choose from different settings based on common hearing impairment configurations to find the amplification that works for you.||iOS|
|AUD1||Uses advanced signal processing strategies to help increase comfort and clarity of sounds.||Android, iOS|
|Hear Coach||A training game used to improve listening ability in noise by increasing cognitive and auditory sharpness.||Android|
|uSound||Uses your hearing test to customize sounds to each user's specific hearing level in real time to compensate for any impairment.||Android|
|Petralex Hearing Aid||Enhances incoming sounds and allows the user to create different profiles.||Android, iOS|
|Tunity||Allows you to stream sound from any muted television.||Android, iOS|
Assistive Device Apps
These apps help those with hearing loss by providing visual and/or tactile information such as closed captioning and vibrational alerting signals.
|Tap Tap||Works as an alerting device to get the attention of someone with a hearing loss by vibrating in response to certain sound signals, such as a honk, alarm, or shout.||iOS|
|P3 Mobile||A voice relay service app that allows deaf and hard of hearing individuals to have telephone conversations.||iOS/Android|
These apps will give you a better understanding of hearing loss and help educate you on the anatomy of the ear.
|Ear ID||Teaches the anatomy of the ear with images, animation, and videos.||iOS|
|Hearing Loss Simulator||Allows you to choose a specific hearing loss configuration and listen to sounds as though you have that particular hearing loss.||iOS|
|Phonak Leo||This interactive iPad app is great for teaching children about hearing loss in a fun way.||iOS|
Sign Language Apps
These apps will help you learn or interpret sign language.
|ASL Dictionary||Translates English into American Sign Language (ASL) from A-Z, numbers, common English phrases, symbols and more.||iOS|
|ASL Dictionary from NTID||An ASL to English dictionary that demonstrates how signs change, or "inflect" to convey different meanings.||iOS|
|Signed Stories||Children's stories performed in American Sign Language or British Sign Language.||iOS|
|My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language Dictionary||Teaches you and your baby 300 different ASL signs.||iOS|
|ASL Coach||A simplified way to learn American Sign Language.||iOS|
|ASL: Fingerspelling||An ASL fingerspelling practice tool to help you improve your ability to read fingerspelling.||iOS|
|Marlee Signs||Learn ASL from Marlee Matlin, Academy Award Winning Deaf actress.||iOS|
What's Your Favorite Hearing App?
Now you've seen our list. Do you have a favorite hearing app? If we did not include it in the list above, please comment below and let us know about it!
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