Beyond Hearing Aids: Getting Access to Life


Resource Guide


Bluetooth Basics – a Bluetooth device uses radio waves instead of wires or cables to connect to a phone or computer. A Bluetooth product – like a headset or watch or hearing aid – contains a tiny computer chip with a Bluetooth radio and software that makes it easy to connect. Bluetooth devices that want to talk to each other must pair. Communication using Bluetooth technology happens over short range.


CentralAlert Cell Phone Ringer – an alerting system that uses a loud ringer and light flasher to alert to incoming cell phone, landline, Sky and FaceTime calls and SMS messages. Also alerts to WEA emergency broadcast warnings. Optional bed shaker available.
Fitbit (and similar) – wearable technology that tracks exercise and calories and allows the user to set vibrating alerts to wake up. Similar products include Pebble Smartwatch, Garmin Vivosmart Activity Tracker and Apple Watch
Local government alerts – local governments may have a text alerting system. Search on your local government to find out.
TapTap (by David Vondracek) – an iPhone app designed to assist people who are deaf to alert them when a loud noise is made near them. It’s useful to get your attention from people you can’t see. Launch the TapTap app and it will vibrate and flash to notify you when there is a loud noise.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) – emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. These include FEMA, FCC, Department of National Security and National Weather Service. No signup is required. These alerts are sent automatically to WEA-capable phones during an emergency. On your cellphone, search for “CMAS” or “WEA” in your phone’s messaging settings. You can also dial ##2627## on your smartphone to turn them on. If neither of these work, you may not have a phone that is WEA enabled. 



Airline apps – set up alerts for flights (i.e., Delta)
Hipmunk – locate flights, hotels, cars and packages
Weather apps - may send push notifications (i.e., AccuWeather, or Weather Channel app). Ping4alerts is a hyprlocal mobile alerting system. 
Find My Friends – An app that helps you find your friends easily. Just install the app and invite friends to share their locations. Get notified when family members come and go. There’s also a chit chat feature that lets you talk. Look this up in the iPhone app store. (No website.)


Comcast – offers readable voicemail
Digital pens – These pens allow you to take traditional handwritten notes, while simultaneously makes a digital copy of everything you write. In addition, the Smartpen also records everything you hear or say as you write. Later, if you tap a word, the Smartpen will play back whatever was recorded at the time those notes were taken. Recorded audio is anchored to the notes. (i.e., Livescribe 3 smartpen or Echo smartpen)
Doodle – create polls for easy scheduling to determine the best time to hold a meeting.
Dragon Dictation – offers speech to text voice recognition application that is powered by Dragon Naturally Speaking. It allows you to use speech to text for email messages, notes, text messages and Twitter updates.
Google Voicetranscribes voicemail to text that you can read in your Google voice inbox. It’s free, but the quality of transcripts varies and may not be entirely accurate.
NoNotes – call recording and transcription platform. This service also offers course transcription for students to record lectures and transcribe them. Available for a fee.
Phonewire – human-powered voicemail to text service. Also offers gender identification.
Sign Up Genius – allows people to sign up online. Allow people to sign up for events.
YouMail – offers voicemail to text transcription service.


Caption glasses - Sony Entertainment Access glasses are coming to movie theaters. The caption s are projected onto the glasses and appear to float about 10 feet in front of the user. People who are blind can use the glasses to access descriptive audio tracks, and people who are hard of hearing can use them for additional amplification. AG Bell and other consumer and movie theater industry groups signed an historic agreement that lists the number of glasses that must be available in movie theaters so that theaters have devices on hand to meet consumer demand.
Fitbit (and similar) – wearable technology that tracks exercise and calories and allows the user to set vibrating alerts to wake up. Similar products include Pebble Smartwatch, Garmin Vivosmart Activity Tracker and Apple Watch
Wearable payments – they allow contactless payments. Don’t fumble with your credit card, just swipe your wrist to pay. This technology is coming to wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers and payment wristbands. The best-known may be Apple Watch, but wearable payments will come to Fitbit, Android Wear Watches and other fitness trackers.

Into the Future

Ava – This app is not yet on the market commercially, but people can get early access. Provides speech-to-text voice recognition of individuals and group conversation. Ava works when all speakers in a conversation have been invited to Ava, they talk close to their cell phone microphone and Internet is available. This app is powered by proprietary speech-to-text voice recognition.
Moodies Emotions Analytics – analyzes emotions and vocal intonations after you talk for just 20 seconds. This is great for people who have trouble detecting voice inflections that contribute to a mood. 
Tech Tattoos – Software company Chaotic Moon has developed a “tech tattoo” that gets embedded into a person’s arm and can track a person’s financial and medical information. The tattoo can monitor if a person is about to get sick and will transmit this information wirelessly to a mobile app or computer being monitored by health professionals. This may be good for cochlear implant users so that medical professionals can identify CI users in emergency situations.