On June 23rd, Apple revealed the iOS14 at its annual WWDC Keynote. A small yet powerful feature of this upgrade is its sound recognition capacity, which has caught our attention. This could be potentially very beneficial for Apple users who suffer from a hearing loss, as iPhones with this upgrade can now act as a second pair of ears, listening out for particular sounds within our environments.
Everyday alerting sounds are picked up by this technology, 14 of them in fact, some of which include, a baby crying, alarms going off, dogs barking, a knock at the door, or screaming. Our phones will pick up these sounds and send us a notification.
Several tech giants have included sound recognition in their lifestyle technologies such as Google’s Pixel car crash sensor and Amazon Echo’s alarm and broken glass detection in their speakers. All of these assistive AI features are a boon to their users. Apple’s own take with its sound recognition technology is most certainly going to improve the lives of its users.
Erika Shakespeare, CCC-A, Audiologist at Audiology & Hearing Aid Associates, is enamored by the new features saying, “Apple has been leading the consumer electronics industry in accessibility innovations for consumers for years. Making consumer electronics functional and useful for people of all ability allows for people to stay connected to their worlds in ways that are seamless. They were the first cell phone manufacturer to work with the hearing aid industry to develop a seamless integration between the hearing aid and the phone.”
This technology is a logical progression from the integration of the hearing aid, to help users during the times where they might not be wearing one. Most of us keep our phones close to hand and the vibration feature is excellent at gaining our attention when notifications come through. When wearing over-the-ear headphones, listening to podcasts/music, watching video’s or being occupied by a call, it is great to know that our phones will be keeping an electronic ear out for us.
Apple has stated that this technology is not for replacing bonafide safety alerting systems but designed as an assistive feature to help us in everyday life.
We applaud Apple for its steps in fostering inclusivity – every little effort by the brands endemic to our lifestyles is a great leap forward. We at A&HAA are looking forward to testing this feature for ourselves.
Please call us at (541) 612-7555 for any questions or queries regarding your hearing health, or click here to schedule an Access Audiology consultation.