I'm sure many of you have aging parents; some very hard of hearing, some deaf. Phones and spoken conversations can be difficult or impossible. But voice recognition technology seems to be improving fast.

I'm looking for one (or perhaps more) applications that:

  • Can convert voice-via-microphone to a text window in near real time
  • Is independent of the speaker
  • Can run on Android phones or laptop PCs (both would be ideal) carried by the HoH person
  • Are very easy to operate by the HoH user

In the interest of broader utility of answers, solutions for Apple devices would be OK to list; my personal interest is for non-Apple devices.

It is relatively easy to search the web for "speech to text app for deaf" and a number of applications come up. They have very few, if any, reviews. I'd prefer to hear from people with personal experience with these. You don't get many chances to install/try this for an elderly person; they don't have the expertise, so you the family tech geek have to do it, and if one or two tries fails, they may reject further attempts.

Bonus points if:

  • One can add a directional microphone to allow this to be used in public lecture contexts (this gets us perhaps to hardware recommendations but capability may be important, and maybe there is some need to configure directional microphones)
  • It can handle mobile phone calls in and out on an Android phone

Phones and PCs have Bluetooth capability. I don't know if this provides any additional options or choices.

I don't care if it is free or paid; I want the best results.

Any additional thoughts on how to approach this problem may be a bit off topic but much appreciated, by me and others with the same problem.

  • 1
    One of the best applications out there is RogerVoice. play.google.com/store/apps/… Please download and try it. It should work If the user speaks slowly enough for the application to convert speech to text. Give it a try :)
    – Aswin P J
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 11:26
  • 1
    Hmm, Google apps store shows some other options (via ads). This one also looks promising based on reviews: "DeafHelp" : play.google.com/store/apps/…
    – Ira Baxter
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 11:41
  • Wow: no answers even with a +100 bounty offered. This is really an unsolved problem?
    – Ira Baxter
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 4:53
  • No. This is not an unsolved problem. Have you tried the app that I had recommended? The app is not available in my region, therefore I coudn't test it myself.
    – Aswin P J
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 4:54
  • @AswinPJ: Thanks. I tried RogerVoice; see my answer. You didn't get any points for providing what I consider to be a reasonable answer; I donated a point to your question on software understanding tools to give you a bit of credit.
    – Ira Baxter
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 13:29

3 Answers 3


RogerVoice seems interesting for cell phone calls using Android phones.


This application converts voice to text for the voices on both side of an outgoing cell phone call. Its transciption quality seems pretty good; I think it is using a Google voice-to-text conversion service internally (much as I suspect DeafHelper is doing).

It offers a dialpad for one-off numbers, and it will search the phone's list of known numbers to help the caller dial out.

It cannot handle incoming calls, which seriously damages its utility. The HoH person can call out, but the HoH family member cannot call the HoH person and get help with this app.

While the Google App market shows this as "Free", it is not. (I've complained to Google about this deception). It has some charge-by-the-minute pricing scheme that I didn't understand very well. The installation offers a "You agree to these terms" button but the terms didn't say anything about pricing. It asks you to register; it doesn't say anything about charging; I didn't run it long enough to get a charge (I don't think). You have go to the website to find out prices. I did not find out how they billed. In spite of all this, the amount billed monthly isn't terrible.

  • Voice to text in realtime
  • Outgoing calls only; you can't use for local non-cell-phone conversations
  • Runs on Android phones
  • Seems easy to operate
  • Costs 10-20 euros per month

The Android application "Deaf Helper" appears to be useful.


This application does one simple thing: it continuously converts any voice it hears on an Android cell phone microphone into text in a nice large font. Testing it by talking to the cell phone at arm's length showed a very good transcription quality; it caught most of the words surprisingly well.

I did an experiment with my other answer involving Skype: during a Skype call, I set my cell phone down not particularly near the computer speakers. It transcribed the audio from myself and my HoH parent on the other side of the Skype call quite well. I'm going to install it on his cell phone so that he can use it with Skype as an alternative to my typing in Skype's IM window. [I'll revise this with the results of that experiment as soon as I can do it; he's in another state and installing things remotely is harder than it looks].

  • Voice to text in real time
  • Speaker independent
  • Runs on Android phones
  • Seems very easy to operate
  • Free

Skype with Instant Message (IM) enabled works pretty well for "phone" conversations.

As simple as this idea seems, I tested it out with my seriously deaf father. He can hear with his hearing aids, but every other sentence for him produces a word he can't catch.

So I called him on Skype (visual call) on his PC, and got him to display the IM window on his side. Talked through Skype; as usual, he mostly heard correctly. When there was trouble I typed the troublesome word or phrase into the IM window so he could see it. This is the first conversation on the "phone" I've had with him in a long time that wasn't frustrating for either of us.

He can install Skype on his cell phone and that has IM too, but I haven't tried it.

  • Voice-to-text via typing into IM; obviously not speaker independent :-}
  • Runs on Android phones, PCs, (I think Linux and Apple)
  • Easy for HOH person to operate
  • Free

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