Deaf or Hard of Hearing? There’s an app for that!

App MyEar, developed by Brandon Isobe

Reviewed by Fred Cheng | March 1, 2019

(Disclaimer: the developer of this app has provided the reviewer with free licenses for the purposes of testing and review.  Opinions expressed are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of the BRCCED.)

Scroll to the bottom for the lowdown and Pros & Cons.

When Brandon approached me with his Speech-to-Text (and Text-to-Speech) app geared towards Deaf and Hard of Hearing folks, I was a little skeptical at first, my immediate response was: “Why would I want to download an extra app on my phone that will eat up the little storage that’s left? And for $14?  With Canadian sales tax, that’s almost half-a-hundred dollars!” OK, so I exaggerated a *little* bit with the sales tax, but really, my iPhone already does speech-to-text, for free, with the built-in iOS Keyboard’s dictation feature, and I use it quite frequently when conversing with hearing folks who don’t sign ASL.  Here’s how a typical conversation would go:

Hearing person: blah blah blah….

Me: Sorry, hold on, I can’t read your lips….

  1. pull out my phone
  2. open email app
  3. change the keyboard to iOS’es built-in keyboard (I use an alternative keyboard for one-handed typing)
  4. tap on the miniscule microphone button next to the spacebar and let the person speak

    squint to read the text

Admittingly, although it ‘worked’, the fumbling to get dictation going in an impromptu conversation setting does get a little stressful, I always imagine the other party having to muster up all their will power to prevent their foot from tapping while they wait for me. To rub salt into the wound, words shown in default text size that are normally legible when I use the phone on my own, suddenly becomes a trail of squiggling marching ants on a screen when the phone gets passed back and forth in a hurry.

So I thought, doesn’t hurt to try out this app, I’ll delete it in 5 minutes after I test it out and have enough info to write a review; but that 5 minutes turned out to be 5 weeks and counting, and the app now sits prominently on the first page of my apps, and here’s why:

Hearing person: blah blah blah….

Me: Sorry, hold on, I can’t read your lips….

  1. pull out my phone
  2. open App MyEar and let the person speak

    read the text in large, high-contrast font

App MyEar has effectively cut down the steps by half, two steps for me, or maybe one if I only used the default keyboard – but when you are in a conversation, the last thing you want to do is fumble for the tiny microphone button and break the flow of the conversation.  It might not seem much on paper, but it is something that you really have to experience in a real scenario to appreciate the impact of the nuances.  And did I mention the text is now a large green font on black that you can tweak?

Another feature App MyEar has, is text-to-speech, useful for folks who don’t normally use their voice, and can type up what they want to say, and let the app speak on their behalf.

So you might be asking, how does all of this magic work on a phone, and is it accurate?  Simple, it uses the same method as the built-in dictation function in iOS – it sends the speech over the internet to the Apple servers for all the voice recognition heavy lifting, so it is as accurate as Apple’s technology allows; but unlike dictation in iPhone 6s or later, App MyEar will not work offline.

In conclusion, App MyEar does exactly what it advertises to do – to transcribe verbal English speech to English text almost in real time, and can also ‘speak’ on the user’s behalf.  And as a Deaf, I’m happy to see developers creating tools targeted directly for the Deaf community.


What is it: A speech-to-text and text-to-speech app

Who is it for: Deafs and Hard of Hearing folks who also use English

Where to find it: currently only available for iOS devices on the App Store for a one-time-cost of $13.99 CAD on the Canadian App Store (or $9.99 USD on the US App Store)

How it works: it uses Apple’s Speech API, so all the heavy lifting is done right on Apple’s backend, which means you’ll need an active internet connection to make it work.

Why use this: Simple user interface that works as soon as you pull out your phone and start the app.



  • Will start transcribing text as soon as you pull up the app
  • User can change text size and/or color to suit their needs
  • Compatible with Apple Watch & Apple TV for alternative text output options
  • No in-app purchase, pay-once-use-forever


  • Unable to save or copy dictated speech for later review.


  • Does not work without an internet connection
  • $9.99 (USD) is higher than the average app price on the App Store (which sits at $1.02 USD as of September 2018). (source: