Smartphone app supports independence and safety for hearing impaired

Anne Greatbatch

12 July 2017 – Hearing therapist Anne Greatbatch takes a look at Braci Pro, a free app that allows your phone to function as an alerting system.

Braci Pro is a sound recognition platform that functions through recognising and analysing sounds from the environment and converting them into visual and sensory notifications and alerts on your smartphone, selected smartwatches and other devices like iPads.

That makes the app ideal for people living with hearing loss because it alerts them to sounds in their environment they would ordinarily have trouble hearing.

When detection mode is activated, the device’s microphone will listen to the environment for sounds. When the app recognises a particular sound, it triggers an onscreen notification, vibrates and flashes the camera light on the device.

It works without Wi-Fi or data connection, but your device does require battery power so will need to be charged up.

The app comes  pre-installed to recognise smoke alarms. This makes it useful when you’re away from home staying in hotels or with friends.

You can also customise the app by recording sounds specific to your environment, like your doorbell, your telephone’s ring – even your oven timer or the sound of your washing machine completing its cycle.

It can be a little tricky to set up, especially when recording other sounds, but the pre-installed smoke alarm alert is ready to go wherever you are – provided you have battery life.

Overall, the Braci Pro is a great option to support people to live more independently in their home.

However, I would always recommend people who are unable to hear conventional smoke alarms make sure they have specialised smoke alarms installed in their home rather than relying on Braci Pro.

It’s also really important that people are proactive if they are staying away from home and inform their host or hotel staff about their hearing loss and the need to be alerted in the event of emergency.

Braci Pro is free to download from Google Play and Mac App Store. Watch the video here.

For advice about smoke alarms for people with hearing impairment, including information about funding options, contact your local hearing therapist on 0800 008 011.