Blogging Audi Knows an
App for That
As a fan of both gadgets and resources, I am always looking at ways of incorporating technology to help people with hearing loss maximize their communication access. This may mean finding ways to do auditory training on-the-go to improve listening ability with a cochlear implant or hearing aid(s), or using assistive technology to make auditory information available through text or sign language.
With the proliferation of iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices in the schools and in the home, I wanted to see how many of the over half a MILLION apps available in the App Store in iTunes could help people with hearing loss. Thus began my journey and many hours in front of a computer searching…and searching…and still searching.
My blog entry “Apps for Kids (and Adults) with Hearing Loss” provides general information on using Apple technology and also some tips on accessibility. It also houses the link to my comprehensive list of over 200 apps that cover a variety of topics such as Accessibility, Sign Language, Listening Therapy or Telecommunication.
In addition to my apps list, you can connect to my favorite bookmarks about hearing loss at www.delicious.com/hlpuears. Here you will also find hundreds of searchable, tagged links on a variety of topics.
So, if I had to choose my favorite, must-have apps, what would they be?
- Facetime. This program is already loaded onto Apple devices with front-facing cameras, this feature is great for providing speechreading support or being able to communicate in ASL
- Rover (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rover/
id483262612?mt=8&ls=1) is a FREE app that allows you to play websites on your Apple device that use Flash or Java (something that is not possible with the included Safari browser). For websites that have a CC button like www.abcfamily.go.com (to watch Switched at Birth, for example) you can now take advantage of this feature on your device.
- Captionfish (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/
captionfish/id387324703?mt=8) is a FREE app that will let you know which movies, theaters and times have open or closed captioning in your area. (See separate article in this issue.)
- Play It Down (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/
play-it-down/id436207951?mt=8&ls=1) is a FREE app is important for educational purposes because it has a built-in sound level meter to indicate if environmental sounds are too loud. There is even a crude hearing test that you can take.
- My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-smart-hands-baby-
sign-language/id366879790?mt=8)--don’t let the name fool you! If you’re interested in learning sign language (adults, too!), this is a great app with high quality pictures, descriptions of how to make the sign and quiz mode. There is a “lite” version for FREE (33 signs) or a $4.99 version (300 signs).
- Hear Coach (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hear-
coach/id489515928?mt=8&ls=1) is a great FREE app that can be used with older children and adults. Practicing word discrimination or listening for numbers first in quiet then as it gets harder, in noise. The app keeps track of your progress, too!
- Audible (www.audible.com) is an app that by itself is free but you pay monthly to get access to their vast library with thousands of audiobooks for adults and kids. I use this app frequently on my numerous commutes.
- Most of the apps by www.grasshopperapps.com have a listening component to them, so if you want to do some auditory training with kids, see which of the categories and concepts work best for you.
What are some ways to get free apps or discounted apps?
When searching for apps to buy, I highly suggest subscribing to sites like Technology in Education (http://techinspecialed.com/), Smart Apps for Kids (http://www.smartappsforkids.com/) or Alligator Apps (http://www.alligatorapps.com) to receive information on free or discounted apps. They may have promotional events on Facebook or send you a Free App of the Day link. They also thoroughly review apps to make sure they do what they say they do and are engaging.
Happy surfing, swiping, poking, listening, watching, playing and learning!
Childress is an educational audiologist who works in both mainstream and residential school settings. She is also a sought out presenter and trainer by parents and professionals on a variety of topics relating to hearing loss but especially cochlear implants, assistive technology (gadgets!), aural rehabilitation and the social/emotional impact of hearing loss. Tina became deaf over the course of nine months due to Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease at age 29. She received her first cochlear implant in 2000 and became a bilateral recipient in 2005. She has a passion for mentoring, teaching and helping others navigate through the world of hearing loss and believes in paying it forward with her dual perspective as an audiologist and bilateral cochlear implant recipient. See her blog at http://tinachildress.wordpress.com.