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Your Smartphone Can Now Alert You to Important Environmental Sounds

November 6, 2020

With the recent releases of the iOS 14 and Android 11 operating systems, your iOS and Android smartphones can now alert you to important environmental sounds such as doorbells, fire alarms, and dogs barking.  These accessibility features have been specifically designed for d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing users.  Home alerting systems, such as the Clarity AlertMaster and Serene Innovations CentralAlert, have been around for many years but a good, mobile alerting system has been elusive until now.


Follow these instructions to enable the new Sound Recognition feature on your iOS device. Your iPhone/iPad needs to be running iOS 14 or newer for this feature to work.  Please note that the “Hey Siri” feature will not work while Sound Recognition is running, however, you can still activate Siri manually.

iOS devices can alert you to the following sounds: fire and smoke alarms, sirens, cats, dogs, appliances, car horns, doorbells, knocking, running water, and a crying baby.

screen shot of iPhone sound recognition menu

Screenshot of the iPhone’s Sound Recognition menu



To use Sound Notifications on your Android device, make sure your Live Transcribe app is updated to the most recent version. If you don’t have Live Transcribe installed already or if it didn’t come pre-loaded on your device, you may download the free app from the Play Store.  CNET has written a helpful article about how to access this new feature.

Android devices can alert you to the following sounds: smoke and fire alarms, shouting, sirens, babies, dogs barking, doorbell ringing, knocking, appliances beeping, landline phones ringing, and running water.  You can even receive these notifications on your wearable Android devices!

screen shot of Android tablet in sound notifications menu

Screenshot of an Android tablet’s Sound Notifications menu

Here to Help

If you have questions about these new smartphone features or would like to schedule an in-person or virtual demonstration, please contact North Dakota Assistive at 800-895-4728 or

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