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The best apps for phone captioning

Contributed by , associate editor for Healthy Hearing

Smart Phones make on-the-go captioning assistance easier for hearing impaired

Services that provide captioning for phone conversations and movies are making their way from the home television sets to on-the-go users through smart phones. Developers creating applications for the iPhone, as well as several other phones, are making it possible for those suffering from hearing loss or impairment to enjoy entertainment and conversations with friends and family easily.

The following captioning applications are available for download, dependent upon your mobile device and operating system.

Hamilton Mobile CapTel 

Operating in a similar manner to captioning on television, Hamilton Mobile CapTel transcribes phone calls into text that is readable on the user’s smart phone. Created for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones, the free application makes it possible for users to read what is being said, in addition to being audible for those with only slight impairments. There is a requirement of a one-time registration for a Hamilton CapTel account, a voice plan, a data plan and a headset that works with hearing aids, cochlear ear implants, Bluetooth or wired headsets. Hamilton Mobile CapTel is free for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.


Subtitles is a mobile application created for the iPhone and makes it easy for users to access a large library of new release and older movie subtitles in 20   languages. The application is free for download from Apple. When visiting the theater, the deaf and hard of hearing are able to use Subtitles to access captioning in their native language. The application supports English, French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian and Spanish captioning, as well as several more languages.  Subtitles is especially useful in theaters where no captioning is available.


Captionfish is another application for the iPhone and helps users find captioned movies across the United States. This application is free in the Apple marketplace. The application is the first to offer the deaf and hard of hearing streaming movie trailers with captions. Captionfish finds all show times for accessible movies playing within 60 miles of an area selected by the user. This iOS4 application displays a brief synopsis for current and upcoming movies and provides a search function to locate nearby theater addresses.

Closed Capp 

Closed Capp is an application available for $.99 in the Android market. The application is used for face-to-face conversations and captures up to 10 seconds of real-time audio. This is designed to make day-to-day conversation easier for those who are hard of hearing or do not know sign language. Users speak into the phone and then the application processes and prints on the phone screen what was said. The text that appears on the phone is enlarged, making it easy for anyone to read. The application is currently not available for transcribing phone calls.


The ClearCaptions application is available for free in the Android market. ClearCaptions works in two modes: simultaneous voice and captions or captions only. In order to utilize the concurrent voice and caption service users will have to have a simultaneous voice and data connection. For the caption-only option, users will need a separate phone for the audio portion of the call and a data connection for the captioning service. The data connection can be through your wireless carrier or wifi.
Captioning isn't the only service available for your mobile phone. Check out "The Best Phone Apps to Measure Noise Levels," "The Best Phone Apps to Check Your Hearing" and "The Best Apps for Learning Sign Language" to find more. 

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