Communicating in background noise services

Hello Everyone

Action on Hearing Loss is continuously looking to improve access to services for people with hearing Loss. With the growth of internet services and apps in particular, communication has changed vastly. Some of these apps have been beneficial for people with hearing loss however some apps are designed without any consideration towards the hard of hearing population.

We would therefore like to find out what apps people are using, which apps have been helpful and which apps need improvement. Currently we are focusing on apps which help people with hearing loss and deafness and below are some apps we consider the most useful. We would appreciate feedback on ways any of these apps can be improved as well as information on apps people are using that may help others that have not been identified below.

Communicating in background noise services
These apps are a great way of reducing noise and picking up the wanted speech sounds by using your phones microphone. However, they do require pairing with listening devices such as headphones and neckloops or hearing aid streaming Bluetooth devices. It is important to check on the app what is required before hand to make sure you are able to use it. These apps can help you maintain or improve your social life in noisy situations which you may otherwise avoid.



  • Bio Aid: This app allows you to use the microphone on your device as a basic hearing aid listening device through connected headphones. You can increase the volume of the speech coming into the microphone. You can adjust the overall volume as well as adjusting the low and high pitch sounds separately. This is a free app and is only currently available on iOS.

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    Uber: this is a free app to order private minicabs. The app allows you to get a quote and order minicab without having to speak to anyone over the phone.

    The app will find your location or alternatively you can type in a location yourself if it’s from a different location to where you are and you type in your destination. All payments are done through a registered card on the app and therefore there is no confusion about payment through difficulties with being able to hear the driver.

    The app is available on Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows.


  • Petralex Hearing Aid: Available on Android and iOS for free. The Petralex hearing aid app is able to auto-adjust to your personalised hearing profile and you can use it with headphones on your mobile or tablet. There is a slight delay in which the speech is heard through the app and sent into the headphones and this time can vary depending on the device’s model and software running the app. This app is not designed to replace a conventional hearing aid.


  • HearYouNow from ExSilent: This app is currently free on iOS devices. ExSilent, a Dutch hearing aid manufacturer, developed this free app that lets you adjust the frequency (pitch) and distance of sound, and lets you adjust your two ears separately, and instantly replay the last 20 seconds. The company that designed this app, sells hearing aids and they stress that the app is for people who have trouble hearing in specific situations and if you are using it all the time, they also advise that you should probably see a specialist.

  • Hear from Loyalty Works, Inc. This is a basic free hearing aid app on iOS. It’s offered in the Entertainment category and works only as a basic amplifier for which you can’t control the volume. Due to this, it also includes a warning that it “may damage hearing permanently” and therefore is not advisable to use for long periods of time and in no way is designed to be used instead of a hearing aid.