Ava: Real-time Captioning for the Hearing Impaired

August 29, 2019

A woman using her phone at work with a man looking away in the background

For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, having access to the appropriate technology can mean the difference between being a part of the conversation and being left on the sidelines. And while many individuals who are deaf/heard of hearing are capable of reading lips in a one-on-one setting, there are still many barriers when it comes to effectively communicating with the outside world. This is especially true in group settings when multiple individuals are speaking at once, often overlapping and interrupting each other.

Now, imagine if those conversations could be closed-captioned in real time, allowing users with hearing challenges to actively participate in the conversation without having to read lips or employ sign-language interpreters. Imagine if important business meetings were instantly transcribed into text, ensuring that no one in the conversation missed a word.

The app that we’re looking at today was developed for exactly that purpose.

Ava works by transcribing speech into text through its built-in speech recognition technology. When connected users speak, their voice is instantly transcribed into text and made visible to each participant in the conversation via the Ava app. To start captioning, simply press the microphone icon and start speaking. Users must be at a distance no further than 12 inches away from their smartphone. Or, alternatively, Ava users can connect their smartphone to a Bluetooth-enabled microphone.

To add new people to the conversation, either invite them through the contacts tab or share the QR code which is available on the home screen of the app. Ava also has a feature which allows users to reply through text using the keyboard, which will then be converted into speech.
The free plan provides 5 hours of captioning per month, whereas the premium plan provides unlimited captioning for the price of $29.99 USD/month. The app works best when everyone in the conversation has the Ava app, and an internet connection is always required. To learn more about the Ava app, click here(new window). For a more in-depth tutorial, click here(new window).