The Top 10 Android Apps for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (2011)

The Android has been hugely useful for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. As a smartphone with an enormous library of applications, a number exist to better facilitate communication and make it possible to place and receive audio and/or video calls, among other things. As such, here are the latest ten apps to enhance one’s Android experience and life in general.
  1. Handcent SMS – An excellent application for managing text message Handcent SMS also has a wide array of customize abilities such as changing your font, color background and how you preferred to be notified.

  2. Purple Communications (Purple VRS): Like the iPhone app, Purple Communications has done it again! Purple VRS allows you to make phone calls and even better, video phone calls. You have the option to be connected to an operator who then reads your messages to the recipient and transcribes their messages back to you. Or better, you can video call your friends/families yourself and communicate via sign and if they’re not there, you can leave a video message in ASL. Also recommended to download PurpleMail as well! Only downside, no group video yet.

  3. Z4 Mobile: Z4 Mobile allows you to make both point-to-point and VRS calls on your iPhone 4 or iPod Touch (4th Generation). It turns iPhone 4 or iPod Touch into a mobile videophone.

  4. Fring: Fring is the only free mobile Group Video Call service in the world! Video call/Call any other Android devices, iPhones/iPod touches/iPad, Nokia and see your friends real-time status; you can chat with your friends before video-calling them. Best feature: Fun and easy to use.

  5. eBuddy: a multi-function messaging application that makes it possible to make free calls as well as live IM chats from an iPhone or iPod touch over either a WiFi connection or a 3G one. It interfaces to many services, like MSN Messenger, Google Talk, Twitter, and AOL Instant Messenger, and for consolidating all of these into a single application, it could be quite useful.

  6. TED Air: You can watch TED talks with subtitle in your language, watch TED talks that ‘Best of the Web’, and you can search using both English and your language. This app also gives you the ability to downl TED talks and watch later without WiFi connection. TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. – (

  7. Speak It: this application talks for you. You basically write the text (whatever you want!) and click on the Play button. The program has a TTS engine that will generate voice from the text that your write. With this app you also have the ability to create your own ringtone and alarm, all you have to do is write the text and set it as your ringtone. Lastlly, there’s a Home Screen widget that give deaf people more functionality by saving a urgent warning/message on the home screen and all you have to do is take out your phone and press the button.

  8. Google Voice: a multi-function voice mail application that makes it possible to make free calls using your phone as well as live IM chats from either a WiFi connection or a 3G. Make cheap international calls with your Google number. Send free text messages. Place calls and send text messages showing your Google number. Listen to voicemail and read transcripts if you not able to understand the voice mail (extremely useful for deaf/hard of hearing customers).

  9. MoboPlayer: Simply, one of the best video player on Android! (They claim to be the best, and I believe them, but I always remember that someone can always come up with something better!) Watch any of your videos on a phone without conversion, anytime and anywhere. They feature of of the best playback experience and quality that I have ever seen. Guess what? They include popular subtitle formats such as SRT, ASS, and SAA, which is excellent for those who are deaf/hard of hearing!

  10. Dragon Dictation (known now as FlexT9): The Dragon Dictation app is a voice to text app. It’s made by Dragon Naturally speaking and it’s free. Dragon Dictation  turns spoken speech into text. There are several advantages for using this app, first, if you’re having a hard time understanding what your friend is saying, they can say it again using this app and bingo, you know exactly what they said. Secondly, if you’re hard of hearing, you can use it to practice your speech. Only one downside: it’s not free. $4.99

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Thomsen Young

Founder of TSG