According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 5% of the world’s population, that is approximately 360 million people, have disabling hearing loss (328 million adults and 32 million children). Hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears, and leads to difficulty in hearing conversational speech or loud sounds.

‘Hard of hearing’ refers to people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. They usually communicate through spoken language and can benefit from hearing aids, captioning and assistive listening devices. People with more significant hearing losses may benefit from cochlear implants.

‘Deaf’ people mostly have profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing. One of the main impacts of hearing loss is on the individual’s ability to communicate with others and keep up with conversation at a busy restaurant or in group meetings, even if they are lip reading experts.

Thanks to an innovative new smartphone application called Transcence, however, translates speech into written words making life easier and more social for those who can’t hear.

Transcence was created by four graduates, from the University of San Francisco and Berkeley, who have all been affected by hearing loss in different ways. The developers “created Transcence to end the professional and social exclusion caused by hearing loss”, in order to “bring meaning to the conversation and allow a deaf person to actively engage again”.

How it is done? The app translates speech into words that appear on a smartphone in real-time. To do this, it connects to a number of phones and activates their microphones, to accurately capture what people nearby are saying. Each individual’s speech is shown in different colour, hence, making it easy for the app’s user to see who is talking on their smartphone screen.

The user can also use the app to speak for them using a digital voice, or to get the attention of all the people present, via their smartphones.

In order for the final Android version of their app, as well as an iOS and web version, to be developed, a total of of $25,000 (£15,707) are necessary. So far, developers have raised more than a fifth of their funding goal. The ‘personal interpreter’ is affordable, with an annual subscription starting at $150 (£94).

It is a great cause that all of us can contribute to. Starting today.

Source: Mail Online 

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Lab scientist, sharp dresser and cooking guru Maria is one half of the original alwaysladies.com founding team. She brings her opinions with earnestness and a smile, even when there are razor blades inside.

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