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Adapting Smartphone Sound Just for You
Once every couple of years, I’m asked if I have a solution for someone who is hard of hearing or visually impaired. While I don’t have many solutions to offer, I do want to share a little nougat on my Android phone that I treasure.
As a telecom professional, audio quality is paramount to me. This is true in regards not only for my end users, but also my personal experience. As a veteran who has worked around aircraft and other loud devices, I have some hearing loss at certain frequencies. And as I’ve entered my mid-40s, my hearing loss has become more evident. (Just ask my wife!)
I was thrilled to learn that my Samsung Android phone has a wonderful feature called “Adapt Sound,” available beginning with the Nougat version. I discovered it several years ago on my Galaxy S6, and it’s even better on the Galaxy S10. Sorry iPhone users, this isn't available on Apple products today.
Adapt Sound is essentially a hearing test with a smart equalizer that adjusts certain frequencies. It compensates the audio where my hearing is poor without just boosting the volume.
The test takes only a few minutes. As soon as I launched the Adapt Sound wizard, I had flashbacks to a few hearing tests I had in school. Hear the beep… raise your hand. Except in this case, Samsung plays a tone and visually shows a tone being played. I wore quality earphones, and simply tapped “yes” or “no” through the test of both ears. When finished, I received a visual representation of my audio test results and Android’s corrective action to compensate for my loss.
The results astonished me -- listening to the before and after made me grin from ear to ear. The “before” sound (called “Original”) was certainly adequate but sounded flat. The “after” sound (called “Personalized”) made it seem like someone had removed earmuffs from my head.
Please don’t substitute this test for a screening from licensed healthcare professional; if you have significant hearing loss, you should visit an audiologist. But, Android’s evaluation had tuned each frequency to adapt to my deficiencies at various levels.
Now if only we could get manufacturers of office headsets and desk phones to offer the same type of feature!