Smartphone Apps Help Deaf Community “Hear” – Simplify Daily Communication

Two mobile applications – ‘Say it With Signs’ and ‘Hearing Aide’ were launched Tuesday to help the deaf community hear and reciprocate better. In the first app ‘Say it with signs’, the caller speaks directly into the phone once the call is connected, and this speech is then converted by the app into sign language which gets displayed on the receivers smartphone. Replies are then sent via text messages, which get converted into audio messages. This is a great app for someone who wants to contact a hearing-impaired but is not able to text him – say like a caller who’s driving. At present, the app includes a library of 500 common words and the developers plan to beef it up to 4000 words come June. In order to make use of this app, both end users must have this application installed on their devices. Data charges are applicable.


James Ong, executive officer, community services, at Singapore Association for the Deaf, stated that this app negates the use of an interpreter when such people need to communicate with one another. “For example, if the hearing community doesn’t know how to use sign language, they don’t have to find an interpreter to come because you have this app to bridge the communication gap,” says he.

The second app, ‘Hearing Aide’, is to be used at emergency situations. Once downloaded, the app runs in the background. When the app detects any pre-recorded sounds, it processes this sound and notifies the user of this message via vibration, flashing lights and a visual message. The app comes pre-loaded with five most important sounds – fire engine, ambulance, police siren, fire alarm, smoke detector. Users have the liberty to further customize this app by adding up to 15 sounds (ranging from 90-120 decibels) in the records. These sounds may be of a crying baby, boiling kettle, etc.

Both the apps are available in English, and could be downloaded onto Android devices from Friday. The iOS versions of the same shall be out in June. Both apps were developed by Grey Group, the global advertising network, in collaboration with the Singapore Association for the Deaf.

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