Google is starting to roll out two new features for Android phones today that are meant to help the some 900 million people around the world who the World Health Organization says will be suffering from hearing loss by the year 2055. The features are actually two apps for Android called Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, both of which do exactly what the names imply.

The Live Transcribe app, for example, takes real-world speech and turns it into real-time captions using the phone’s microphone, while Sound Amplifier helps filter, augment and amplify sounds in the environment around the user. It increases quiet sounds while not over-boosting loud sounds, and it can also be customized, with sliders and toggles that can be used for noise reduction to minimize distractions in the background.

Sound Amplifier will be in the Play Store today for Android users, while Google says Live Transcribe will start rolling out in a limited beta today via the Play Store. It will also come pre-installed on Pixel 3 devices, and you can sign up here to be notified when it’s more widely available. Sound Amplifier will likewise come pre-installed on Pixel 3’s.

In a company blog post today, Google shows how the apps can be used by spotlighting the work of Dimitri Kanevsky, a research scientist at the company who’s worked on speech recognition and communications technology for 30 years. “Through his work, Dimitri — who has been deaf since early childhood — has helped shape the accessibility technologies he relies on. One of them is CART: A service where a captioner virtually joins a meeting to listen and create a transcription of spoken dialogue, which then displays on a computer screen. Dimitri’s teammate, Chet Gnegy, saw the challenges Dimitri faced using CART: He always carried multiple devices, it was costly and each meeting required a lot of preparation. This meant Dimitri could only use CART for formal business meetings or events, and not everyday conversations.”

That, the Google post continues, inspired Chet to work with the company’s Accessibility team to build a tool that could reduce Dimitri’s effort spent preparing for conversations. “We thought: What if we used cloud-based automatic speech recognition to display spoken words on a screen? A prototype was built and Googlers across a bunch of our offices — from Mountain View to Taipei — got involved. The result is Live Transcribe, an app that takes real-world speech and turns it into real-time captions using just the phone’s microphone.”

The app gives people who are deaf or hard of hearing, Google says, greater independence in their everyday interactions. People like Dimitri, who’s now closer to his loved ones and able to easily communicate with his young granddaughters without the help of family members.

Attachments area
Preview YouTube video Android Accessibility: Live Transcribe

Center-for-working-and-living-logoCenter for Living & Working, Inc.’s  Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program invites you to attend a Meet and Greet with MCDHH Commissioner Steven Florio.

Please come to meet and talk with Commissioner Florio Massachusetts Commission Steven Floriofor the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Learn about his goals and vision for the future of MCDHH.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
TIME: 2:00pm – 4:00pm
WHERE: Center for Living & Working, Inc.
484 Main Street, Suite 345
Denholm Building
Worcester, MA 01608

There will also be time to ask questions!  Refreshments will be provided.

MCDHHPlease RSVP by June 19th  RSVP to Joan Philip at or please call

ASL/English Interpreters will be provided. FM systems will be available.

Please contact Joan Philip for any other Communication Access requests.

March 16th Meeting at The Northborough Town Library

2:30 to 4:30 pm  (Note the 2:30 pm start time)

Living with Hearing Loss: Share Your Experiences

The March “meeting” will not be our typical chapter meeting with a speaker.discussion.PNG

Instead, we will all be the speakers! The format will be for us to break into small groups to identify common issues we experience with hearing loss and brainstorm potential solutions. We’ll come back as a full group to find out what each of the groups came up with.

This will be an excellent opportunity for us to interact with one another, share experiences, and learn from each other.

The Northborough Town Library

  • Ample Free Parking
  • Light Refreshments
  • CART Provided (Computer Aided Real Time Captioning)
  • First Timers Welcome… just show up!

QUESTIONS? Email us at

34 Main St, Northborough, MA 01532 (Access Library from Rt. 20 at Patty Lane)

Posted by: hlacentralma | March 8, 2019


My Journey as a Musician with Hearing LossBettyHauck

A “Talk and Play” presentation
by Betty Hauck, viola and violin

For 50 years, Betty enjoyed a rich and rewarding career as a professional violist—until the day she realized that she had to retire because of progressive hearing loss. For three years, she completely turned her back on music. In this “Talk & Play” presentation, she will tell the story of how various twists and turns led her back into sharing the joy of music while educating and advocating for those with hearing loss. Her talk will be punctuated by short musical selections on both violin and viola. This will be a short 20 minute presentation in lieu of the usual sermon.

Betty hauck violinSunday, March 24, 2019, 11:00 am

Unitarian Universalist Church, 147 High St, Medford, Massachusetts

Highlights of Betty’s career include performing for the Kennedys at the White House, playing in a string quartet with Yo-Yo Ma and, as a founding member of the Apple Hill Chamber Players, touring the Middle East annually, performing and teaching young Palestinian and Jewish music students.

Betty was recently featured in an NPR story about musicians and hearing loss:


Betty Hauck -2

Posted by: hlacentralma | March 6, 2019

Merrimack Repertory Theater – Open Captioned Performances

Merrimack Repertory Theater in Lowell, MA provides open captioned performances.

The Haunted Life, Sunday, April 7th at 2:00 pm, and
Cry It Out, Sunday May 12th at 2:00 pm.

The venue is located at 50 East Merrimack Street

For more information please call 978-654-4678 or email




David Copithorne  – From

Content Director,  16 February 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided that when it comes to loud headphones and hearing loss, enough is enough. Along with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), it has published recommended specifications for a new generation of hi-fi headsets that won’t give you hearing loss.

The organizations say all new smartphones and audio players with in-ear or over-the-ear amplification should come with an array of new technologies. They are recommending adoption of a new technical standard specifying features such as software that monitors sound levels, automatic volume limitations, and data collection providing feedback on unsafe usage.

“Given that we have the technological know-how to prevent hearing loss, it should not be the case that so many young people continue to damage their hearing while listening to music,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “They must understand that once they lose their hearing, it won’t come back.”

Half the world’s youth at risk of permanent hearing loss

WHO estimates that nearly 50% of people aged 12-35 years – or 1.1 billion young people – are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds, including music they listen to through personal audio devices. But it also says that half of all cases of hearing loss can be prevented through public health measures.

How? Simply by educating the public on what kinds of sound can damage your hearing. And how long one can be exposed to loud sounds before hearing is jeopardized.

Turning down the volume on your headphones below dangerous levels and limiting the time spent listening at high volumes can prevent hearing loss. But you have to know what those limits are. So the voluntary WHO-ITU standard specifies new technology that makes users aware of usage that can hurt your hearing.

Features of safe listening devices

The Safe Listening Devices and Systems standard recommends that personal audio devices include:

  • “Sound allowance” function: software that tracks the level and duration of the user’s exposure to sound as a percentage used of a reference exposure.
  • Personalized profile: an individualized listening profile, based on the user’s listening practices, which informs the user of how safely (or not) he or she has been listening and gives cues for action based on this information.
  • Volume limiting options: options to limit the volume, including automatic volume reduction and parental volume control.
  • General information: information and guidance to users on safe listening practices, both through personal audio devices and for other leisure activities.

The standard was introduced to coincide with World Hearing Day on March 3 and developed under WHO’s “Make Listening Safe” initiative. The initiative seeks to improve listening practices especially among young people, both when they are exposed to music and other sounds at noisy entertainment venues and as they listen to music through their personal audio devices.

Raising awareness among manufacturers and governments

Experts from WHO and ITU worked together over a two-year process to develop the standard, which draws on the latest research on noise-induced hearing loss and on extensive consultations with representatives from government, industry, consumers and civil society.

Adherence to the standard is voluntary, but WHO is providing a detailed implementation guide. The Safe Listening Devices and Systems Standard is detailed a 40-page book for manufacturers and other stakeholders. And for government and community organizations, WHO offers an implementation Toolkit for safe listening devices and systems.



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