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The best apps for phone captioning

Contributed by , staff writer for Healthy Hearing

Editor's note: This article was originally posted on February 9, 2012. Due to its overwhelming popularity, we've updated it to republish today.

Even if you wear hearing aids, you might want to hear a little better when you talk on the phone, are watching a movie or eating at your favorite – albeit noisy – restaurant. And, if you have normal hearing, you might wish you could communicate better with friends and family members who are deaf or have hearing loss. Fortunately, if you have a smart phone or similar personal electronic device, help is only an app away. 

phone caption apps
Individuals with hearing loss 
can get help from their smart
phones! Check out these apps
to discover how they can help 
you or a loved one. 

Hamilton Captel (free)

iOS and Android devices

3.8 stars

Those who have trouble hearing telephone conversations will appreciate this app. You can listen to your phone conversation while reading word-for-word captions of what’s being said. Users must register for a Hamilton Captel account, have a voice and data plan and a Bluetooth or wired headset that works with hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Subtitles Viewer! (free)

iOS device

4.5 stars

Need subtitles for your favorite television show or movie? They’re as close as your smart phone when you download this app, which synchronizes with what you’re watching. Available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Chines, Danish, French, German, Greek, Javanese, Hebrew, Italian, Malay, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Sweden, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese.

ClearCaptions (free for qualified users)

iOS and Android devices

3.1 stars

Hear and read what is being said with ClearCaptions. This app allows you to see captions and hear the call at the same time on phones with a voice and data connection. Those with data plans only can read the captions. Please note: the FCC requires users pay a one-time access fee to enable the app, then it is free to use.

Live Caption (3.99)

iOS and Android devices

3.1 stars

Need help understanding the waiter at your favorite restaurant? When you download this app, they can speak directly into your phone and Live Caption transcribes in real time. To begin captioning, simply press the microphone button on the keyboard, speak normally and text results will appear. It also works with most Bluetooth devices such as headsets and in-ear microphones.

Closed Capp ($3.99)

Android

4 stars

Understand the conversation clearly with Closed Capp, where words are transcribed live on the screen of your Android device (It does not transcribe phone calls). You can also use the app to speak to the deaf or hearing impaired.

If you’d rather learn how to communicate using American Sign Language, there are also a variety of sign language apps for both iOS and Android devices.

Of course, these apps should not be considered a replacement for good hearing healthcare. If you suspect you have hearing loss and need to find a hearing healthcare practitioner in your community, please visit our directory.

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