Google intros a pair of Android accessibility features for people with hearing loss


Interesting. Just installed both. Transcribe initially works pretty well. Disappointed that sound amplifier says it only works with wired headphones. Would be better if it could use Bluetooth.



Here’s a picture of the Sound Amplfier settings …Interesting!



"On Monday, the search giant released two new services, Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, aimed at helping people who have trouble hearing communicate more easily. Live Transcribe does exactly what its name suggests – it uses your phone’s mic to automatically generate captions that appear on your screen. With Sound Amplifier, you can use your phone and a set of headphones to improve the clarity of the speech around you. "




As always, the fanzines have conflicting (often completely wrong) information.


It starts rolling out today in limited beta for Pixel 3 users.


Live Transcribe is available on phones that run Google’s Android Lollipop operating system, released in 2014, or later versions. Sound Amplifier is available on Android Pie, released in August.

I have a 2018 Google Pixel 2 XL on Android 9 / Pie that I just applied the Feb. 2019 Security Update. I do not have those two features in that phone. So it appears that TechCrunch (maybe) is accurate, and (as usual) CNet is totally wrong. :roll_eyes:



Live Transcribe is an app you install from Play. Sound Amplifier you enable in accessibility settings. I have both now on Pixel 2 XL.

1 Like


That’s unfortunate for Marvel, or isn’t it?



Thank you, I searched the Play Store for both, I must have been too early. I have Live Transcribe now, but cannot find the Sound Amplifier, I’ve used the search function in Settings and in Settings > Accessibility and no results.



I don’t understand. What do you mean exactly?



I’ve got it working on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8, (Pixel 3 coming in 3 days!) The transcribe app gives me the option to use the microphone on the device or the one in my Marvels. It seems like the one in the phone works a little better as it’s closer to the person speaking but it does seem to work through the Marvels. I get the tone in my hearing aids when I close the app telling me it’s closing the connection. I kind of hoped that it would pickup audio from my phone calls and do the transcription, but no luck on that option. Hopefully that is next on the list for Google. I still need to try the Phonak myCall-to-Text app.



Try Settings => Accessibility. Scroll down and you should see “Sound Amplifier”. Enable it and you will get a little van Gogh style silhouette to the right of the home button that will turn it on. I haven’t tried it as no wired headphones immediately available! :roll_eyes:



It is not there. Believe me I searched, and I know my way around Android, being a Recognized Contributor at XDA. Below is my entire Accessibility menu listing. I also attached some full sized headphones and nothing.



They are probably pushing it out in waves.

(I did download Live Transcribe, though it was marked as a prerelease app)



I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe it is still needing an update of some kind. FWIW, here’s what it looks like:

Here’s the popup when you tap the little guy:



I initially setup that Live Transcribe through the installed app and it worked great. Later I went into Accessibility settings and scrolled down to Services -> Live Transcribe and it wasn’t enabled. I guess the App and the Service area built into Google are separate but related. The cool thing though was once I enabled it there it gave me a new button in the bottom right of the system tray for quick access! Very convenient.



“That little guy” is exactly what I meant lol. Beat me to it.



Got it as an app from Google Play Store. Installed it and it shows in the Accessability menu, not the app drawer.

1 Like


I’m running Android Oreo 8.0 on a Galaxy Note 8 with the latest security updates. I found the Live Transcribe in the Google Play Store as a Pre-Release Research app and was able to install it. Had the strange experience even after turning it on in Accessibility, getting the “Little Guy” on the right of my Navigation Bar and launching it that it wouldn’t transcribe. The thing for me seemingly needed to “prime” it (I had been operating in Airplane Mode with my Wi-Fi turned on and Internet access via my LAN) was to leave Airplane Mode and turn on cellular data. Then it would work great and I noticed when I’d launch it via the Little Guy that I’d see “Listening…” flash across the bottom of the screen above the Navigation Bar. After being primed, I was even able to go back into Airplane Mode and switch to Wi-Fi only and it would work. But after a while, I’d again have problems until I primed it again by launching it with cellular data turned on. Maybe there’s too much of a time delay, etc., over my Wi-Fi LAN or Google’s servers are being so hit up by folks trying the app that precedence is given to those on cellular data?

I haven’t been able to find the Sound Amplifier app in the Google Play Store. I notice that I have the Samsung Sound Assistant installed, which probably has some similar functionality to the Google Sound Amplifier. Anyone have any hints on how to get a hold of the Google Sound Amplifier app?

The Live Transcribe might be a great boon for my 97-year old father-in-law. Even though he has premium Phonak hearing aids his ability to understand people is pretty poor due to his profound hearing loss although for his age he’s doing O.K. in the cognitive department, able to read, etc. But getting him to try Live Transcribe might be a whole other story.

1 Like


That was one of Marvel’s selling points, with their myCall-to-Text app.
(And not the reason why I have an appointment for a Marvel, the other features are what interest me).



Found the answer for Google Sound Amplifier. If I go to the Google Play Store via my PC web browser and search, it comes up with the announcement that “This app is incompatible with all of your devices.”

Guess I can try uninstalling Samsung’s Sound Assistant and see if that helps but perhaps it’s not a good sign for future compatibility of a Samsung device with Google’s “Made for Android” connectivity! Is a Pixel 3 in my future?!



I did install it, and still have to try it. But even without the app, if you use Google’s translation app, you can also read what’s being said.