Android gains new Sound Notifications feature aimed at people with hearing loss

It can be difficult for people who are deaf or have hearing loss to be aware of things going on in their surroundings. Google wants to help those who are deaf or hard of hearing to be more aware of important noises in their environment. A new Android feature called Sound Notifications provides push notifications for critical sounds around the user.Google says that the feature was designed specifically to help the 466 million people globally with hearing loss. Sound Notifications makes important critical household sounds more noticeable via push notifications, a flash from the camera light, or vibrations on the Android phone. The feature can also help anyone unable to hear normally temporarily due to headphones or some type of injury.

Sound Notifications work with other devices, including Wear OS devices such as smartwatches. Users can get notifications via text with vibrations on their wearable if an important noise is detected by the phone. Sound Notifications uses the smartphone's microphone and works completely off-line. It can recognize ten different noises, including baby sounds, water running, smoke and fire alarms, appliances beeping, and doorknocking.

Sound Notifications expands the sound detection component available in Live Transcribe, which can show 30 sound events along with real-time captions. The Timeline view allows the user to scroll through a brief snapshot of detected sounds over the last few hours. Timeline view enables users to see when and how long the sound occurred to better understand its importance.

Sound Notifications is available now, and users can turn it on in Settings, inside the Accessibility menu by enabling Sound Notifications. Those who don't see the option on the phone can download the Live Transcribe and Sound Notifications app from Google Play.