This is a post about the best deaf apps in 2018. That is, the most useful, popular and widely-used apps by d/Deaf people. This post is US-focused, and covers only iPhone apps.

Best Communication Apps

  1. Glide:  for texting and talking.
  2. P3 Mobile: for texting, talking and relay services. Includes ASL and clear-speech relays.
  3. Google Voice: for transcribing messages (speech to text).
  4. Hamilton CapTel: for captions during the phone conversation
  5. Sorenson Buzzcards: d/Deaf create flashcards for communication with the hearing. Flashcards can be saved.
  6. FaceTime: visual calling

Best In-Person Communication Apps

  1. Speak4Me: text-to-speech
  2. Sorenson Buzzcards: create flashcards to communicate with non-ASL users
  3. Text to Speech!: text-to-speech
  4. iSpeech: text-to-speech
  5. Subtitles Viewer LIVE!: live speech-to-captions (caption real-time, live conversations)
  6. Earfy: live speech-to-captions (caption real-time, live conversations)
  7. Dragon Anywhere: dictation application that can be used by us deaf with hearing – have the hearing person speak and it will automatically caption what they are saying (if it is said clearly enough)

Best Apps for Learning ASL

  1. ASL Dictionary: comprehensive ASL dictionary with videos of more than 5,000 signs
  2. The ASL App: a hip app designed by Deaf ASL users to teach ASL (the one that Nyle is in!)
  3. Signing Savvy: learn ASL and join in conversations and more with the membership site
  4. SignSchool: vocabulary builder, dictionary
  5. YouTube: subscribe to Deaf YouTubers, search for classes. Download them through YouTube Red.
  6. Marlee Signs: learn ASL with Marlee Matlin
  7. ASL Translator: type in the English and get the ASL translation
  8. ASL Dictionary: over 5,000 signs, multiple ways to sign the same word and does not require internet

(note: don’t miss my post on 8 Sites to Learn ASL Online)

Best Alarm or Notification Apps

  1. Alarm Clock with FlashLights: alarm clock with flashing lights (and music)
  2. Alarmed Reminders + Timers: integrates with iPhone native Reminder app
  3. Loud Alarm Clock Best and Loudest Alarms 2: for people who need something REALLY loud (with no hearing neighbors, haha)

AND:  here’s how to set your flash alerts on your phone, which works for phone calls, messages AND your morning alarm clock instead of sound

The Best Deaf Apps

There are many apps for the deaf available, and many more that may not have been created specifically for us but are useful (like Dragon Anywhere).

While that is great, I look forward to more apps being developed, covering a greater range of what would be useful to us (I’m thinking kitchen integrations and home appliance alerts in particular).

Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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13 Comments

    • Why is it highly appreciated by the Deaf community users? Can you tell us something more about it? thanks

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  2. helen holmes Reply

    Why can’t we who don’t sign and have no one to sign with, get text technology on smart phones so we could make and receive phone calls on our own. This goes on in the UK. Why isn’t it available in the US?

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  5. Very useful page for a newly-deaf person. Thank you very much. Also, I will NOT be using the Make It Big app.

  6. I think most people who are deaf are those who used to be able to hear but have gone deaf due to age or other factors. So sad you are iphone only. There is a spectacular Android app called Easy Talk Pro that allows 2 Android phones to do speech to text simultaneously. This allows a conversation to happen at normal speed rather than having to pass an iphone back and forth for the deaf person to read. The app does not work on iphone and the developer is not working on one for iphone.

    • thank you so much for commenting about it, Buck – it’s really going to help someone who has an android!

  7. I came here looking for something to help my dad. We’re Android users, though. I’ll take a look at Easy Talk, but Google has an under-development project called Live Transcribe that is very interesting. It reprocesses the text it has interpreted to try to improve the interpretation when it gets more context. You can see it going back and correcting sentences as it processes more words. All it seems to do now is process speech that the phone’s microphone picks up. It doesn’t have any tricks like phone-to-phone communications. On the other hand, it is extremely simple to use. It even seems to be doing a good job of ignoring the TV as background noise. It does require a data connection of some type, though.

  8. Being Deaf, I was quite impressed with the list. I lost my ability to hear eight years ago and have not been able to find sign language classes in my area. Nor does anyone in my area know sign language

    Google voice was one of the best apps listed. One of the biggest things that people Deaf and hard of hearing look for when using apps for communication is the speed to open the app, speed to turn on the mic and speed and accuracy of dictation.

    As I said, I was impressed with your list, but many of these apps miss the mark of what a hearing disabled person needs. Dragon Anywhere charges monthly fees to use it and is not better than Apple Note. The company Nuance should be renamed Nucience. My biggest complaint about many of these apps is that they try to feed off people with disabilities by charging them monthly fees which more than anyone wishes to pay.

    Google Voice and Apple Note have always been free and help me more than many on and off your list. I still thank you for the list as I did find something useful that will help me in interviews, classes and meetings

    • Thank you for commenting, Kelly – I really appreciate your feedback on Google Voice and Apple Note

      And yes, I hear you on the “disability tax” – soooooo frustrating. Ugh.

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