On June 23rd, Apple unveiled its new iOS 14 at its annual WWDC Keynote. One of the most notable standout features is sound recognition, as well as some small improvements and features. This new accessibility tool could be particularly beneficial to those of us that are hard of hearing or deaf by recognizing certain sounds and notifying the user via prompts and notifications on the screen.
These sounds include a door knock, doorbell, sirens, smoke detector alarm, dog barking, a crying baby, and more.
This feature is a big step for Apple, following in the footsteps of such tech companies as Amazon and Google, who have recently introduced AI-based sound recognition for personal safety measures, including Amazon’s Alexa Gaurd which detects the sound of alarms and broken glasses, or Google’s Pixel phones to detect a car crash and call emergency services.
Dr. Juliana Carriere-Marcantel, Doctor of Audiology at Acadian Hearing Services, is particularly impressed by the new features saying, “Apple’s new sound detection feature of IOS 14 will be great for hearing impaired iPhone users in conjunction with hearing aids. Hearing aid users will feel more at ease without having to rely strictly on audible cues, knowing their iPhone is like an extra set of ears to ensure they don’t miss a thing. This technology is extremely helpful and hopefully can be integrated directly into hearing aid technology.”
With technology progressing, more and more features are being introduced by large technology companies to support the hard of hearing and minimize many of the challenges faced.