Android's new Sound Notifications will alert you to 'critical sounds' around you
The feature is geared toward people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Abrar Al-HeetiVideo producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has twice been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
on Thursday rolled out a new feature for Android designed to alert people with hearing loss about "critical household sounds" such as appliances beeping, water running and dogs barking. Sound Notifications will send a push notification, trigger a flash from your camera light or cause your phone to vibrate to grab your attention. While the feature is focused on helping people who are deaf or hard of hearing, it can also be helpful for people wearing earplugs or headphones, Google says.
Sound Notifications also works with other Google devices like
smartwatches, which send text notifications with vibrations to your wrist when your phone picks up on an important noise. That can be helpful to people who want to get alerts even while sleeping, "a concern shared by many in the deaf and hard of hearing community," Google said in a blog post.
The feature was developed with machine learning and works fully offline, using your phone's microphone to pick up on 10 different noises such as smoke and fire alarms, running water, baby sounds and a knock on the door. This builds upon Google's sound detection features in Live Transcribe, which shows more than 30 sounds with real-time captions to help people better understand their surroundings.
To turn on Sound Notifications, go to Settings. Then go to the Accessibility menu to enable Sound Notifications. If that option isn't showing up for you, download both Live Transcribe and Sound Notifications from Google Play, then head to settings to turn on Sound Notifications.