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How to get clearer calls from your phone

Poor speech clarity on phone calls is often a problem for people with hearing loss. But new technology could change that, including higher definition voice, the option to tailor calls to match one’s hearing profile, and adjustments to the phone itself. Kevin Taylor, from our Technology team, looks at the options, including how to get clearer calls through hearing aids. When you think about all the clever things that smartphones can do, it’s perhaps surprising that speech clarity on phone...

New tech for a new decade

For all things tech, there’s no better way to start the new decade than with the Consumer Electronics Show – CES 2020. Held every January in Las Vegas, it’s the largest event of its kind. This year among the mini drones, robotics and new concept electric cars are some exciting innovations for people with hearing loss and deafness. HeardThat App The drive towards harnessing the computing power of smartphones for hearing assistance took another step forward with the HeardThat app. Developed...

Lloyds Bank launches sign language support for online customers

Lloyds Bank has announced they are the first UK organisation to offer Signly, a pioneering website translation tool for British Sign Language customers. British Sign Language (BSL) has its own grammar and syntax that is fundamentally different to written and spoken English. Signly overcomes communication barriers BSL customers often face by signing website text through a PC or laptop. Signly BSL Browser Extension The Signly software, which works with Google Chrome and the latest version of Microsoft Edge, offers the same level...

Tech ideas to help raise awareness of hearing loss

For the last couple of years, Microsoft UK has hosted an Ideas Generator event for charities. It’s a chance to explore how charities can harness the latest technology to provide real-world solutions. This year, the Microsoft team chose Action on Hearing Loss to attend along with four other charities. The Ideas Generator The process starts with each charity working through a ‘problem statement’ before the event. This explores the issues that technology might be able to address. This year’s event took place...

Hearing Health by Apple

Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update. Apple introduced an integrated health app on the iPhone several years ago. Originally, it gave the user information about their basic fitness activities, such as a step count. Over time, it has evolved to give...

Apple’s new noise monitor

Apple has long been investing in their tablets and phones to raise awareness of fitness. However, since the launch of their smartwatch, healthcare apps have become increasingly important and their latest app now includes hearing health to help protect hearing in noisy environments. Jesal Vishnuram, Technology Manager, tells us more. Noise has steadily become increasingly more common, but this has gone by almost unnoticed by most people. From noisy streets to cafes and restaurants as well as music concerts and...

What app?

With so many speech-to-text (STT) apps out there, it’s hard to distinguish which work well and are worth paying for. We asked 40 people who have hearing loss to help us test some apps and identify the best and worst performers. Our volunteers tested five apps that use STT technology to provide subtitles for phone calls, or live subtitles for everyday conversation, over eight weeks. Half of the volunteers used an Apple iOS device and half an Android. All the...

The first “Healthable” hearing aid

Livio AI by Starkey is the world’s first “Healthable” using AI and sensors to track physical activity and cognitive health. The hearing aid has shown to significantly improve the wearer’s ability to hear speech in noise and track your steps, heart rate and mental fitness by informing the user of the benefits of wearing the hearing aid over time. Livio AI Sound Quality Through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the Livio hearing aid is better able to...

Treat your home to smart tech

Kevin Taylor reports on how smart home technology will help make life more inclusive. Imagine how useful it would be to receive an alert notification on your smartphone or smartwatch when the doorbell rings, and even see who is at the door before you answer it and communicate with them from your phone. It seems remarkable, yet this is just one example of what smart home tech can do. It is all part of the ‘Internet of Things’ revolution, where almost...

Smartphone accessibility and security

Smartphones are capable of doing extraordinary things. They have gone from basic text, email and call function to being able to complete complex tasks like a mini computer. With all of this capability, how can they be used to improve accessibility and what are the manufacturers doing to make them more inclusive? Also, are they doing enough to ensure people are safe when using these devices? Phone calls Phone calls, particularly in noise, can be difficult for most people. Having a...